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Myth #1: It is better to get the flu than to get the flu vaccine.

False

It is always better to get the flu vaccine. There’s potential for serious complications from the influenza. People can get very ill, end up in the hospital. People who get the vaccine always have a less severe illness, even if they do contract the flu.

Myth #2: You can catch the flu from the flu vaccine.

False, false, false!

This may be one of the biggest falsities we see every year. There is no live virus in the vaccine. It is impossible to catch influenza from the vaccine. People may catch the common cold or a separate pneumonia or a bad sinus infection and they may think they’ve got the flu, but that is not from the flu vaccine. That is a separate illness. It is still possible to contract influenza, even if you’ve had the vaccine, but it is not from the vaccine.

Myth #3: The flu is a virus so there is nothing I can do about it.

False.

We do have drugs called antiviral drugs, one of which you may have heard of called Tamiflu that if caught in time can seriously lessen the effects of the influenza virus. Ideally, it is started within the first 48 hours. In some cases of more severe illness or someone severely immunocompromised, you might even still use it outside of that 48-hour window.

Myth #4: The flu virus can live up to two days or 48 hours on surfaces.

True.

If not cleaned properly, the flu virus can be passed on up to two days out. It’s important to use standard cleaning in your home. Make sure your canister says, “Approved to kill Influenza A.” That’s important.

Myth #5: Vomiting and diarrhea or the stomach flu is the same thing as influenza.

False.

While that is commonly called the stomach flu, that is not influenza. Influenza is a respiratory disease. Cough, fever, headache, body aches. Much more similar to pneumonia. While some young children may vomit a little bit with it, there’s typically no diarrhea. The antivirals do not work on that and that is certainly … You are offered no protection from that with your flu shot.

Myth #6: People with an egg allergy cannot get a flu shot.

False.

While several strains of influenza vaccine were developed for people specifically with an egg allergy, new studies suggest those aren’t even necessary. Everyone everywhere can get a flu vaccine of a regular type, regardless of an egg allergy.

It is important to know the signs of influenza:

  • Sudden onset fever, usually greater than 101
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Cough

It is important to come in and be treated within the first 48 hours so we can treat it with antivirals. We’re available seven days a week here in ambulatory care, seven to seven, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.