Some of the things that you hear about influenza virus simply aren’t true. Don’t put your health and your family’s health at risk because of misinformation. Here are some common myths about the flu, and what you need to know to protect against the flu.
You only get the flu during flu season
Most cases of the flu occur during flu season, but you can get sick from the flu at any time. The month of February is typically the “peak month of flu activity”. February has seen the highest percentage of flu virus infections during flu season 15 times since 1982.
There’s nothing you can do to prevent the flu
It is still possible to get sick from influenza virus even after you have been vaccinated against the flu. Flu vaccination is the most effective thing that you can do to help prevent spreading influenza virus and protect yourself against the flu, however.
According to the CDC, flu vaccine prevented 5.3 million flu illnesses, 2,6 million medical visits, and 85,000 flu-related hospitalizations during 2016-2017.
Washing your hands prevents the flu
Hand washing is an important tool in protecting against the flu, but just washing your hands isn’t enough to prevent the flu.
You can get the flu from flu vaccines
Flu vaccine cannot transmit a flu infection. Some people may get sick or have a reaction after a flu shot, but this is not the flu.
You don’t need a flu shot if you’re healthy
Young children, older adults, and some people with chronic health conditions are at a greater risk for complications from the flu, but everyone should be vaccinated. The CDC recommends a flu shot every year for almost everyone older than 6 months of age. This offers the best protection against flu illness for you and those around you.
The flu isn’t a big deal
Most cases of the flu get better without special medical treatment, especially if the person infected already had a dose of flu vaccine. The flu can be quite serious and even fatal in some cases, however.
People at a high risk for developing flu-related complications include children younger than five years of age, adults over 65, pregnant women, residents of long-term care facilities, and people with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, blood disorders, heart disorders, and weakened immune systems.
Once you get a flu shot you’re protected from the flu
Flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent flu infections. A flu shot does not, however, provide lifelong protection. Influenza virus mutates each year, and the flu vaccine from last year won’t protect you for the upcoming flu season.
It’s recommended that you receive a dose of flu vaccine every year to protect against the current strains of influenza virus. Get your flu shot today.