The flu and its corresponding vaccine are important to maintaining good health. However, both are surrounded by misinformation. Due to the prevelance of myths surrounding the flu and its vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compiled the most popular myths so that people can test their flu I.Q. The National Hispanic Council on Aging encourages you find out your flu I.Q. by using the information below and then improving your I.Q. with materials from our signature Vacunemonos program – a culturally, linguistically and age sensitive community intervention that aims to raise vaccination rates among Hispanic older adults through targeted outreach and education.
A flu vaccine can’t give you the flu: True.
The flu vaccine cannot cause flue illness. The viruses in the vaccines are either killed (flu shot) or weakened (nasal spray vaccine), which means they cannot cause infection.
The “stomach flu” and influenza are the same thing: False.
“Stomach flu” is a popular term for stomach or intestinal disease, whereas the flu is a respiratory (lung) disease. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throate and muscle aches. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea also can occur with flu, but are more common in children than adults.
Getting a flu vaccine in December or later is not too late: True.
CDC recommends that people get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available and that vaccination continues into December, January and beyond. Influenza activity usually peaks in February most years, but disease can occur as late as May.
People should be vaccinated against the flu each and every year: True.
CDC recommends yearly vaccination for two reasons. First, new flu vaccines are made each year and often updated to fight against the three influenza viruses research suggests will be most common. Second, immunity declines over time, so a yearly vaccination is required for optimal protection.
Washing your hands if the best thing you can do to protect against the flu: False.
CDC recommends a flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting aginst the flu. However, preventative actions like cover your cough and washing your hands often are important everyday steps that can help stop the spread of germs.
The flu is typically spread through coughs and/or sneezes: True.
Flu virus is mainly spread through droplets from coughs and sneezes.
The flu is not a serious illness: False.
Flu is a serious contagious disease that causes illness and related hospitalizations and deaths every year in the U.S. Flu seasons can vary in severity. Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.
The flu vaccine is available as a shot or nasal spray: True.
Flu vaccine is also available as a nasal spray (brand name FluMist). The nasal spray flu vaccine is an option for “healthy” people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant. “Healthy” indicates people who do not have an underlying medical condition that predisposes them to influenza complications.
You can spread the flu to other before you have symptoms: True.
Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
There is no treatment for the flu: False.
There are prescription medications called “antiviral drugs” that can be used to treat the flu. Antiviral drugs are pills, liquid or an inhaled powder that fight against the flu in your body. The antiviral drugs recommended now are oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). Antivirals are not a substitute for getting a flu vaccine. A yearly flu vaccination is the first and best way to prevent influenza.