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Busting The Common Flu Myths

Updated: Tuesday, January 15 2013, 03:34 PM CST

With cold and flu season upon us, emergency departments, urgent care centers and inpatient centers are busy because of the flu. Part of the problem why so many people get sick is that they buy into the long-held myths about the flu vaccine.

Here are some of the most common myths:

Myth: You can actually catch the flu from the flu vaccine.
It`s simply not true. The vaccine can give you some mild symptoms, you may feel a bit achy and your arm may be a little tender where you first get the shot, but that`s actually a good thing and shows that the vaccine is working. It tells us your body is responding appropriately to the vaccine. Don`t confuse a few slight symptoms with the actual flu. The vaccine may leave you feeling a bit warm or achy for a day or two, but with true influenza, someone is sick and in bed for a week with high fever.

Myth: The flu is only spread by sneezing.
Germs are pretty easy to pass around and flu is really contagious. It`s very easy for one child to give it to another child and the next thing you know, they bring it home.

Myth: Flu vaccines do not protect you from current strains.
The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pick the strains they think are most likely to circulate in the coming months so that people are protected against everything that may go around. Every year there are two A strains and one B strain of influenza included in the vaccine.

It is especially important for children to get the flu shot. Children are around so many people -- from peers to teachers, siblings to adults and grandparents -- which means they are the biggest carriers of the flu, and giving them the vaccine can protect a wide range of people.

By Dr. Dennis Cunningham, Nationwide Children`s Hospital

More Resources:
Flu Vaccine Finder
CDC: Flu Basics
CDC: Flu Vaccine FactsBusting The Common Flu Myths

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Flu Signs and Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:


Flu Symptoms (more intense than common cold):

  • Fever 
  • Body aches
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Dry cough are more common and intense
  • Chills
  • HeadachesCommon

Cold Symptoms:  
  • Stuffy/runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever is rare
  • Slight body aches
  • Mild fatigue

Source: Centers for Disease Control

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