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Myths and Facts About the Flu

Myths and Facts About the Flu

The flu may be one of the most misunderstood sicknesses around. People use the term “flu” to cover a wide variety of conditions, but the flu is a contagious respiratory illness that travels through the upper and lower respiratory tract. 

Symptoms include cold sweats and chills, headaches, sore throat, a continuous dry cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, high temperatures, muscle aches, and nasal congestion. This viral infection is extremely contagious, so it’s important to avoid others while you’re sick. 

The team at Arlington Family Practice in Arlington, Massachusetts, provides seasonal flu shots to help prevent illness as well as excellent treatment if you are sick with the flu.

Here are the facts to address some myths about the flu that we commonly run across so you can be better informed this flu season.

Myth: You can get the flu from the flu vaccine.

Fact: The flu vaccine you receive when you get your flu shot each year does include a live flu virus, but it’s an inactive, weakened version that can’t give you the flu. 

Once you get the shot, it takes about two weeks for the protection to be effective, so it’s possible you may develop the flu after the shot if you’re already infected. You may also get a different respiratory virus.

Myth: Young, healthy people don’t need the flu shot.

Fact: Anyone can get the flu, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all people 6 months of age or older get a flu shot every year. 

The flu is highly contagious and anyone can spread it to anyone else, so it’s in the best interests of the community for as many people to be vaccinated as possible.

Myth: The flu is just a bad cold.

Fact: The flu is much more severe than a cold. It can cause high fever, severe fatigue, and more for up to two weeks, and it can lead to serious health complications. 

The CDC reports that hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized because of the flu every year, and thousands to tens of thousands die each year from the flu. You should take the flu seriously.

Myth: There’s nothing you can do to treat the flu

Fact: If you get sick with the flu, you should contact your doctor immediately to review treatment options. Prescription antiviral medication can reduce the severity of your sickness, help you recover more quickly, and lower the possibility of serious complications.

If you feel like you’re getting the flu, our team is here to treat your symptoms and help you recover as quickly as possible. Just call our office or fill out our online appointment request form, and we’ll get you on the road to recovery!

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