Influenza, or flu, is a viral respiratory disease that usually occurs in the coldest months of the year. Symptoms usually appear within 48 hours after becoming infected, and the majority of those affected recover within a week or two without the need for medical treatment. However, young children, older adults and people with risk factors can have serious complications that put their lives at risk.
The most effective way to prevent serious complications is with vaccination. Although there is a moderately effective vaccine - given the continuous variation of circulating viruses that means the vaccine needs to be updated annually - it is estimated that only half of the population at risk receives the flu vaccine each year in the countries of the region that report data.
There are many tips and myths on how to prevent and cure the flu. Presented below are 11 myths that, despite not being true, continue to be repeated. Here are the 11 myths:
Myth: The flu isn't serious, so you don't need to get vaccinated. False!
Flu kills up to 650,000 people every year worldwide. Although anybody can catch it, the risk for complications like pneumonia is higher for people with weakened immune systems. Most people recover in a few weeks, but others suffer complications like sinus infections, ear infections, and pneumonia. Download picture
Myth: The flu vaccine causes flu. False!
Vaccine help your body to develop immunity without giving you the disease. Vaccines help your body to create protective antibodies. Download picture
Myth: It's better to get sick than get vaccinated. False!
Flu can be a serious illness, especially for people in certain risks groups (pregnant women, children, older adults, or people with chronic diseases). Getting vaccinated is the safest way to be protected from the flu. It's important to get vaccinated every year since the virus changes. Download picture
Myth: The flu is just a bad cold. False!
There are big differences between flu and cold. Flu symptoms that start suddenly, including fevermuscle and joint pain, chills, headache, cough, and sore throat. Flu keeps you in bed for several days and can cause pneumonia, bronchitis, and other complications. Colds are milder, cause by respiratory viruses, and may include low fevers and few systemic symptoms. Download picture
Myth: Vitamin C prevents flu. False!
A healthy diet that's full of vitamins and minerals will help you stay healthy, but it doesn't guarantee you're safe from the flu. Vaccination is one of the most important and effective ways to prevented it. Download picture
Myth: Going outside without a coat will give you the flu. False!
Seasonal flu coincides with the coldest time of year, which is why people associate chilly temperatures with the flu. Being cold can affect your boday's defense mechanisms, but it won't give you the flu. Download picture
Myth: Antibiotics will cure the flu. False!
Antibiotics for the flu won't cure the infection, and it won't stop the virus from spreading to other people. In fact when antibiotics aren't used correctly, they can cause harmful reactions and generate bacterial resistance. Download picture
Myth: If I have a runny nose, I can't get the flu shot. False!
You can be vaccinated even if you have a mild infection. Download picture
Myth: If I'm on antibiotics or use an inhaler I can't get the flu shot. False!
Being on antibiotics or using an inhaler with steroids is not a reason to miss your flu vaccine, as long as you don't have a fever. Download picture
Myth: If I'm pregnant or breastfeeding I can't get my flu shot. False!
Being pregnant or breastfeeding are not reasons to not get vaccinated against the flu. Pregnant women should be vaccinated -at any point at their pregnancy- in order to protect themselves and their babies for their first months of life. if a woman isn't vaccinated while she is pregnant, she should receive the flu vaccine after giving birth. Download picture
Myth: Health workers don't need to get flu shots because they already have strong immune systems. False!
Health workers should be vaccinated every year to protect their patients, their families, and themselves. Download picture