Flu season starts in the fall and hit its peak from December to February. September is the key time to get in and get your flu shot. Despite the spread of misinformation, the flu shot is safe, reliable, and necessary.
3 Myths About the Flu Season
Myth #1: The flu shot can give you the flu. Status: FALSE
The flu shot is an inactive flu vaccine, so it is impossible to contract the flu from the vaccine. Some people do feel achy after getting the flu shot, but that is a normal response from your immune system. It is not a symptom of the flu.
Myth #2: The flu isn’t serious, so I don’t need a shot. Status: FALSE
An estimated 650,000 people die from the flu each year. Anyone can contract the flu, but people with suppressed immune systems are at the highest risk of death. The flu can cause serious complications like sinus infections, pneumonia, and heart or brain infections.
Myth 3: I got the shot and got the flu, so it doesn’t work. Status: FALSE
More than one flu virus circulates at a time. The flu shot helps protect you from most strains, but it is still possible to contract another. The CDC states that receiving the flu vaccine reduces your risk of getting the flu by 40% to 60%
Staying Healthy During Flu Season
The flu shot is your #1 defense against the flu. There are also additional steps you can take to stay healthy throughout cold and flu season.
- Cover your mouth & nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at work, home, and school
- Maintain healthy habits for sleep, diet, and exercise
Treating the Flu
The flu usually lasts around 3-5 days. Because the flu is a viral infection it cannot be treated with antibiotics. However, decongestants and pain relievers can help you feel better as your body fights the flu. There are three main strategies for fighting the flu: rest, staying at home, and drinking plenty of fluids.
The flu usually causes a fever and leaves you feeling weak or tired. By taking it easy and resting you let your body’s energy focus on fighting the flu. It is important to rest until your fever breaks and you start feeling like your normal self.
The flu is very contagious, so it is extremely important to stay home from work or school while you’re contagious. Most people remain contagious for 3-5 days after the first sign of symptoms.
Fluids are key to keeping your body functioning, especially when sick. If your urine is dark, you are not getting enough fluids. A good rule of thumb when sick is to try and drink a glass of water every hour you are awake.