Did you take the quiz? Did you get them all right? If not, here is some more detailed information you need to know before this flu season.
#1. You can get the flu from the flu vaccine- False
There is absolutely no live virus in the flu vaccine. It is impossible to get the flu from getting the vaccine. However, what the vaccine does do is create an immune response in your body. You may develop a low fever, and some fatigue, these are all normal immune responses and are necessary as your body is developing antibodies to fight the flu virus.
I have had some patients say they were diagnosed with the flu within days of receiving the flu shot. Yes… this is possible… but it isn’t from getting the vaccine. It takes your body about 2 weeks to develop immunity after getting the flu shot. Also, it takes about 1-4 days after exposure to the flu virus for you develop symptoms. That being said, if you get the flu a day or two after you are vaccinated, chances are you already had the virus in your body before you got the shot.
#2. Washing your hands is the most important step in preventing flu infection. – False.
Washing your hands frequently IS an important step in preventing infection, however it is not the most important. The most important step in prevention is getting vaccinated!
Other precautions include, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, clean and disinfect surfaces, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as this is how infections can spread and don’t forget to wash your hands often!
#3. You can spread the flu virus before you are having symptoms.- True
As I mentioned before, it takes 1-4 days after exposure to the flu virus to become symptomatic. In that 1-4 days, it is still possible to spread the infection to others.
#4. Influenza is the same virus as the “stomach flu”.- False
The “stomach flu” does NOT come from the same virus as influenza! The stomach flu is actually called gastroenteritis and is a infection in your intestinal tract.
#5. Age is a risk factor of the flu.- True
People under the age of 2 and over the age of 65 are at higher risk and are more likely to develop complications from the flu virus.
#6. The flu can lead to heart problems.- True
Some common complications that the flu can lead to are bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, ear infections and sinus infections. The flu can also worsen some chronic illnesses like asthma, diabetes, and congestive heart failure.
#7. Pneumonia is the most serious flu complication. -True
Pneumonia occurs when the virus enters your lungs or you get a bacterial infection during the course of the flu infection. This can be very serious and can lead to hospitalization.
#8. Pregnant women should not get the flu shot. – False
The CDC recommends that ALL pregnant women get the flu shot in order to protect themselves and their babies from infection.
#9. Children as young as 6 months can get the flu shot.- True
The CDC also recommends that anyone 6 months of age or older get vaccinated. If you have children under the age of 6 months old, the best way for you to protect them is by being vaccinated yourself in order to avoid getting sick and spreading it to your baby.
For more information regarding childhood vaccinations, check out this post!
#10. The flu shot starts working as soon as you get it. -False
It takes about 2 weeks for your body to produce infection fighting antibodies that will protect you from flu virus. This is why it is important to get vaccinated early. The CDC recommends getting the vaccine by the end of October in order to ensure you are protected during the peak time of the flu season in January.