Fake News and Real News About the Flu

If you surveyed a hundred people about the flu vaccine, it’s almost guaranteed that you’d get a split in beliefs about its efficacy or its safety. Some are all for it; some believe it’s dangerous; some don’t know what to think.

What’s real? What’s “fake news?”

In a recent article in Aging Care, Marlo Sollitto compiled the latest information about the flu vaccine and debunked several common myths about its effectiveness and/or its dangers.

Fake: The Flu Vaccine Can Give You The Flu

Not true, says Sollitto, who notes that the flu season coincides with the time when colds and other respiratory illnesses are at their highest levels. The symptoms of all these diseases can be similar, and one can be mistaken for the other. She also points out that the vaccine can cause flu-like symptoms for a few days, though the sufferer does not actually have the flu.

Also Fake: There’s No Treatment For The Flu

Not true; there are three FDA-approved antiviral drugs that significantly reduce the effects of the flu virus, make you less contagious to others, and reduce the chance of complications that could develop into pneumonia. They are Tamiflu, Relenza, and Rapivab.  They are only effective if taken within about 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.  So, if you think you have the flu, see your doctor right away so you can take advantage of these treatments if recommended.

Fake News: Antibiotics Can Treat the Flu

Even though both bacterial infections and the influenza virus are “bad guys” that can make you sick, it is not true that the drug that will treat one will also treat the other. Antibiotics have no effect on the flu virus. Plain and simple.

If You’ve Already Had the Flu This Year, You’re Immune: Also Fake News

The flu virus is not just one bug; it has many different forms. You can get sick from one type of flu and then later get sick from another type.

More Fake News: Only The Old Or the Weak Need to Get a Flu Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone over 6 months of age get vaccinated each season. Anyone can contract the virus and become sick, not just the old or weak.

Real News: It’s Not Too Late To Get the Vaccine

Flu season can last as late as May. The month of March is not too late to get a flu vaccine.

Also Real: The Flu Vaccine Isn’t the Only Preventative; Good Habits Help Too

Good habits to follow all year long, include:

  1. Clean your hands regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. If you have the flu – or any disease for that matter – cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  3. Don’t share eating utensils with an infected person, and throw away tissues or other disposable items that they use.
  4. Regularly clean surfaces like bedside tables, bathroom surfaces, doorknobs, remote controls, and children’s toys, using a household disinfectant.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth without first washing your hands if you’ve been handling surfaces or objects in public or objects that have been used by an infected person.

Information for this article was obtained from Aging Care.



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