Like it or not, it’s flu season again. As influenza tends to ramp up with the winter months, infecting an average of 8% of Americans with symptoms, so does misinformation and a steady stream of flu myths.
Let’s clear the air about the flu by debunking some myths with facts to help keep you healthy.
Flu myth #1: You can get the flu from the flu vaccine
The Facts: The vaccine is the best step to avoid getting sick. Though it’s not foolproof, the vaccine won’t give you the flu. At worst, you might suffer a day-long body ache or slight fever, but it’s extremely unlikely that you will contract any diseases from it.
Flu myth #2: After being vaccinated, you don’t need to take any more precautions
The Facts: You need to stay vigilant. In addition to getting a flu shot:
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
- Wash your hands with soap and water throughout the day
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Disinfect surfaces around your home and workplace, especially frequently touched spots including phones, computer keyboards, doorknobs, handles, and light switches
Flu myth #3: If you get the flu, starve yourself (and the virus)
The Facts: Now is an especially important to increase fluids and good nutrition! While you might want to lay off unhealthy, carb-heavy comfort foods, make sure to get plenty of liquids. There’s no magic cure, but hot soup and tea can help you feel better quicker, soothe a scratchy throat, and keep you from getting dehydrated.
Flu myth #4: Sweat out the flu with vigorous exercise
The Facts: Regular exercise is always smart, but when you’ve come down with the flu, keep your activity moderate and get plenty of rest. While a half-hour of walking can do you good, hitting the gym for an intense weightlifting session or doing extended periods of cardio can zap your body of the fluids you desperately need to recover.
Also, if you have the flu, don’t spread the virus to others. If you’re up for some light activity, it’s probably best to do it outside (if it’s warm enough) or in the privacy of your own home.
Remember: get the flu vaccine, wash your hands, stay away from sick people, eat healthy foods, and consume plenty of fluids.