10 flu myths

  • Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2013 6:53 p.m.

Myth 1: I waited too long. It isnít worth it anymore for me to get the flu shot.

Fact: Flu season still has many a week to thrive. It typically lasts from December through March. Getting a flu shot now will protect you for the rest of the season.

Myth 2: I already had the flu this season, so I donít need a flu shot.

Fact: If youíve had the flu, youíll be protected from that strain, but several other strains abound. The flu shot protects against three.

Myth 3: My kid stayed home sick with the flu today, so I got a flu shot.

Fact: The flu vaccine doesnít protect you same-day. It takes two weeks to reach maximum effectiveness for the season.

Myth 4: I didnít get the flu shot, because it could give me the flu.

Fact: The flu shot does not give you the flu. The vaccine has a dead Ė inactive Ė virus, so it canít make you sick.

Myth 5: I hate needles. Iím too scared to get the flu shot.

Fact: Needle-fearing healthy folks ages 2 to 50 can get a nasal spray vaccine, which has a weakened virus. The virus is so weak, you canít get sick from it either.

Myth 6: If I wear a scarf or a mask, I probably wonít get the flu.

Fact: This generally will not prevent you from getting the flu. Though itís recommended that you donít touch your face too much, wearing a mask or scarf usually wonít prevent the flu.

Myth 7: I had the flu, but I feel better today. I must not be contagious anymore.

Fact: You are contagious up to seven days after the start of your flu illness. You also are contagious 24 hours before you show symptoms.

Myth 8: I got the vaccine, so I wonít get the flu.

Fact: You could still get the flu even if youíve had the vaccine. Youíre a lot less likely to get it though.

Myth 9: Iím pregnant, so I canít get the flu vaccine.

Fact: Pregnant women, especially, should get the flu shot.

Myth 10: I got the flu vaccine, so I donít need to do anything else.

Fact: You should still be washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, coughing into an elbow, drinking plenty of fluids, getting enough sleep, eating healthfully and exercising regularly. And even then you might get it.

Source: Chicago Department of Public Health, Medical Director Dr. Julie Morita

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