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Dispelling 5 Major Flu Myths

By Vienna Montague, Producer
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:44:16 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 10 2013 07:26:20 PM CST
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HEALTHCARE -

Every year the flu and its complications put 226,000 people in the hospital, and kill between 3,000 and 49,000 people, depending on the severity of the season.

We're getting the facts on influenza and putting the most common myths to rest.

So what are the most common myths?

The flu is just a nuisance like the cold, and can't be prevented.

As we just mentioned, the flu is a real illness with real consequences, and can even lead to death.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says that the flu will cost business nearly $10.5 billion in direct costs for hospitalizations and outpatient visits for adults so far this 2012-2013 season.

You can get the flu from a flu shot.

The shot does not contain the live virus, so it would be impossible to get it.

You can, however, still get the flu up to two weeks after you get the shot, before the vaccine has reached full effectiveness.

Side effects may occur in some people, such as mild soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site, headache, or a low-grade fever.

The flu changes every year, so getting a flu shot won't protect you from getting sick.

Not exactly.

It is true the flu is unpredictable, but that's why the vaccine changes every year too.

Even if the vaccine isn't a perfect match, it generally offers some protection against a different, but related strain.

Essentially,  it could mean the difference between a flu that could put you out for a week, or a couple of days.

Antibiotics can fight the flu.

Antibiotics only fight bacterial infections.

The flu, seasonal or swine, is not caused by bacteria, but by a virus. So antibiotics have absolutely no effect.

Now, a compromised immune system can allow for other bacterial infections to occur during a bout of influenza, but the flu alone is never cured by antibiotics.

There’s only one type of vaccine available to help protect against the influenza virus.

Influenza vaccine options are available for children, adults, and seniors.

There are also different forms available, including a nasal spray.