Influenza, or “the flu,” is a common illness that is spread each winter, but it can also develop into a life-threatening condition for vulnerable people. Symptoms include high fever, runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, fatigue, severe aches in muscles and joints, headache and pain around the eyes. Getting an annual flu shot is the single most important way to protect your health during flu season. However, misconceptions are still circulating about the flu that are simply not true. Here are some of the myths you may have heard and the facts about the flu you should know.
1 – Flu is Just a Bad Cold and Not Dangerous
The flu can produce respiratory symptoms like a bad cold, but it can be much more deadly. The flu causes severe inflammation in the chest that can lead to pneumonia, heart involvement and sepsis. Individuals who have the flu should be closely monitored and brought to a medical facility for treatment if symptoms suddenly become worse.
2 – If You Get a Flu Shot You’ll Have All the Protection You Need
The influenza virus mutates every year. Therefore, pharmaceutical researchers develop a slightly different vaccine each year to counteract these mutations. Although the flu shot cannot protect against every type of flu virus that may be present, it can help to minimize your symptoms and protect you against the development of more serious medical issues that can result from infection.
3 – A Flu Shot Can Give You the Flu
The flu shot you receive does not contain live influenza virus. The vaccines are made with “inactivated” virus or recombinant DNA. In some cases, individuals may have a mild reaction to vaccination, with soreness at the site or general body aches. However, these symptoms are much less severe than you would have if you had the flu.
4 – You’re Safe if You Wash Your Hands and Avoid People Who are Coughing or Sneezing
Although washing your hands frequently and avoiding people who are coughing may help, it cannot protect you from all exposure to the flu viruses. Studies show that about 20 to 30 percent of individuals who have the flu virus will not have any symptoms. You can spread the flu for one day before showing any symptoms and up to five to seven days after you begin feeling sick.
5 – You Can Catch the Flu from Cold Weather
Influenza is caused by a virus that is transmitted from one person to another. You do not catch it because of cold weather. However, flu outbreaks generally occur during the winter months. The peak of the flu season is thought to be in November and December, but a significant number of new cases are reported well into March and can even occur well into May.
Make PrimeCare Urgent Care Your Choice for Flu Treatment
The physicians and staff at PrimeCare Urgent Care provide immediate, professional care for a variety of common illnesses for the residents of Cumming, GA and nearby communities. We also offer immunizations, testing and physical examinations. No appointment is necessary. Call PrimeCare Urgent Care at 770-292-9981 to get your flu shot and to learn more about the symptoms and treatment of the flu.