3 Crazy Flu Myths You MUST Ignore

woman getting vaccineAlthough you may be putting your best foot forward to start 2015 out with the healthiest possible lifestyle, January also happens to be the dead of the winter. In other words, flu season is in full swing. Making matters worse, there has been a lot of misinformation out there about the virus this year.


That's why we set out to get the facts straight. Here, the truth about the biggest myths about the flu and vaccination this year ...

Myth: Flu season is over!
Fact: "The flu season is typically higher in January and February," explains Jennifer Layden, MD, infectious disease specialist at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Illinois.

Dr. Layden and her colleague Jorge Parada, MD, medical director of infectious disease and control at Loyola, say they've actually seen an uptick in flu cases in the past few weeks.

"Just in the last week Loyola had more than double the number of lab-confirmed cases of flu that we had during the peak week of last season -- and it isn't over yet," says Dr. Parada.

What's more, he notes that the season can last well into April.

Myth: The flu shot wasn't effective this year, so there's no reason to get it.
Fact: The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention did tell doctors last month that this year's vaccine is not as effective, because one of the strains previously covered in the shot -- the Influenza A type H3N2 -- has mutated.

It's too late for a new version of the flu vaccine to be released (because it takes about four months to produce the shot), but the CDC notes that this year's version can still decrease the severity of illness caused by the virus.

Furthermore, "the current vaccine provides excellent coverage for the noted B virus circulating and some of the A strains," explains Dr. Layden. "Thus, it is still highly recommended that individuals still get the vaccine, even if they believe they have had the flu this season."

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Myth: It's not the flu unless you have an upset stomach and are vomiting.
Fact: "Generally, the flu does not cause vomiting and significant GI symptoms," explains Dr. Layden. "But [those symptoms] are more commonly seen among kids and can occasionally occur in adults. However, it is true to emphasize the flu is most typically a respiratory virus."

That said, symptoms you'll want to keep a look out for include fever, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, chills, runny nose, and fatigue.

What are you doing to stave off the flu for the rest of the season?


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