(CBS Charlotte) — It’s October, also known as Flu Season. At the beginning of every Flu Season, many people have to decide on whether or not to get their flu shot.
There are many advantages to getting vaccinated for the flu, however, there are some misconceptions and misguided viewpoints about the Influenza virus and about the vaccine in general.
In the midst of the government shutdown, we thought it would be beneficial to shed light on some of these myths so that you are well-informed this Flu Season — especially since, during the shutdown, the flu virus isn’t receiving a lot of attention from the Center for Disease Control (CDC.)
Top 10 Myths About The Flu
10. If you have the flu, antibiotics will help you recover.
Fact: The flu is a virus, not a bacterial infection. The flu is resistant to antibiotics, however, antiviral medications can help you recover faster from the flu.
9. Chicken soup will ensure a speedy recovery from the flu.
Fact: While warm fluids may alleviate some of the symptoms of the flu, such as a sore throat, chicken soup does not aid in recovering from the flu.
8. Have you ever heard someone say, “starve a flu” before?
Fact: When you are sick, you need the energy that food can provide to promote recovery. Starving a flu will more than likely make you feel worse.
7. If you spend too much time outside during cold weather, or go outside without a coat on, you can get sick or come down with the flu.
Fact: Spending time outside will not make you sick. Furthermore, you cannot catch the flu simply by being outside or being outside while you are under-dressed. The only way that a person comes down with the flu is by being exposed to the influenza virus.
6. The flu shot that you received last year, will protect you against the flu this year as well.
Fact: There are several different strains of the flu. Therefore, it is imperative that you get vaccinated every year to help protect you from the virus.
5. Only people who have flu-like symptoms can spread the flu to others.
Fact: About a third of people who spread the flu to others, have no visible symptoms of the flu virus.
4. Most people who get the flu only have mild cases of the virus.
Fact: The flu can cause serious complications, especially in people who have compromised immune systems. However, even generally healthy people can become quite ill due to the flu. Each year, nearly 200,000 people are hospitalized due to the flu.
3. If you get the flu vaccine, you won’t get the flu.
Fact: Generally, getting the vaccine alone is not enough to protect you from getting the flu virus. The vaccine is a proactive measure, but it does not completely protect you against the flu. To help promote wellness and protect you against the flu, you should also avoid people who have flu-like symptoms, in addition to wiping down shopping carts at the store, and washing your hands frequently — especially after you’ve shaken someone’s hand.
2. People who are generally healthy don’t need to get vaccinated for the flu.
Fact: As previously mentioned, even healthy individuals can become quite ill due to complications that arise from the flu. Furthermore, even if some people do not become very ill due to the flu, getting vaccinated can help limit the spread of the virus.
1. Getting the flu vaccine will give you the flu.
Fact: Most vaccine’s are made from dead (inactive) viruses that cannot infect you with the actual virus. People who get sick after being vaccinated generally believe that the vaccine made them sick, however, chances are, they were going to get sick anyways.
-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte