As flu season looms closer, misinformation abounds about both the virus and its vaccine despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Many myths remain regarding both.
Immunization remains the best defense against flu and its complications, but other healthy behaviors – like washing hands regularly and avoiding close contact with sick individuals as well as covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing — may also help.
1. It’s not serious
Flu is a potentially severe illness, often leading to hospitalizations and deaths each year. While vaccines exist to combat influenza, people must also understand its true impact so that they can take measures against its spread.
People with certain medical conditions or weakened immune systems are at increased risk for serious flu-related complications, including children under 5, adults aged 65 years or over, pregnant women and those living with chronic health conditions like heart disease or diabetes. Non-Hispanic Black and Alaska Native populations also tend to have greater susceptibility.
Healthy people may still develop flu-related health complications, including pneumonia, dehydration or diarrhea. Furthermore, influenza can exacerbate existing medical conditions like asthma or heart disease and it could even pose risks to diabetics or those taking blood-thinner medications such as aspirin.
Although influenza can be serious, many are misinformed about it. According to an AAFP survey conducted earlier this year, 86% of respondents overall got at least one fact incorrect about influenza while 31% of millennial respondents got all 10 incorrect. Furthermore, these millennials were twice as likely to use an excuse such as forgetting or refusing a flu shot than Gen X and baby boomer respondents; furthermore they were three times more likely than either group to say they do not believe in vaccinations.
Flu is caused by the influenza virus, which infects nose, throat and lungs. Influenza A and B viruses are the two most prevalent strains. People can spread flu from day before symptoms appear up until five-seven days post illness by touching contaminated items with their hands, then using those hands to rub their face, cough or sneeze with them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly advises all those six months or older receive a flu vaccine annually, as their annual recommendation. Each season’s vaccine changes according to which viruses are prevalent at that time and injectable vaccine is safe for expectant mothers and those with compromised immune systems whereas nasal spray vaccine has yet to be tested on these groups.
2. It’s not contagious
Many people mistake the flu for just being another cold, but in reality it can cause much more serious symptoms and may even be life-threatening. Flu viruses spread primarily by respiratory droplets created when people cough or sneeze – these droplets land in nearby individuals’ mouths or noses and can even enter their lungs through breathing infected air.
People tend to be contagious from one day before feeling sick to five days post-onset; in some instances, however, this period may last even longer for young children and people with compromised immune systems.
Flu droplets can travel up to six feet in the air, making it possible for other members of a household or workplace to contract the illness from another. But not only through close proximity; people can also contract the flu by touching surfaces touched by someone with influenza infection – such as doorknobs and desks that they touch frequently themselves; as flu germs may linger there for 48 hours after someone becomes infected! Therefore it’s vital that everyone stays hygienic in terms of keeping these surfaces clean in homes, schools, and workplaces alike!
Health complications caused by flu can be devastating for older adults and those living with chronic health conditions, so vaccination against flu should be an annual necessity to avoid severe illness and hospitalizations.
Due to all the misperceptions about influenza and its vaccine, it’s essential that individuals be aware that yearly shots are the best way to safeguard themselves. Since influenza viruses adapt and mutate year by year, a new version of vaccine is produced each season based on which strains of influenza will likely dominate during that season.
3. It’s not dangerous
Although flu can lead to serious illness and even death, many still underestimate its severity and regard it as just another cold. But flu remains an extremely dangerous disease and should be taken seriously by all; especially those at highest risk – infants and young children, adults over 65, those living with chronic health conditions and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable.
Vaccination is the best way to lower your chances of flu illness and lessen its symptoms if you do contract it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that all those aged six months or over receive an annual flu vaccine through either needle injection or nasal spraying.
While it is true that influenza can lead to severe illness and even death, it’s important to remember that most deaths from influenza do not have any preexisting medical conditions; most deaths from flu occur within hospitals settings; most often they affect elderly or frail people.
Keep in mind that flu viruses evolve each year, making immunity to past infections unreliable. Each year a different influenza vaccination vaccine is developed – those most likely to cause pandemics are targeted as targets in its formulation.
Flu can spread both before and during illness. Adults can infect other people from one day prior to first feeling symptoms until up to five to seven days post illness; children and those with compromised immune systems may continue spreading the infection for even longer.
The influenza vaccine can be administered via needle injection or nasal spray and is safe for people with egg allergies. Due to extremely small quantities of egg allergen present in the vaccine, most who suffer from egg allergies can safely receive their flu shot; those with severe egg sensitivities should ask their physician for an allergy-free shot instead.
4. It’s not life-threatening
Flu is a serious illness that can result in debilitating symptoms and even cause death, making knowledge about it and vaccination all the more critical, particularly among older adults and people living with chronic health conditions.
Flu is a contagious respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses that infiltrate the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. Most individuals infected by flu only experience mild symptoms that can be treated using over-the-counter medicines; however, more serious and even life-threatening complications can arise as a result.
While certain groups are at greater risk for complications related to flu infections than others, such as young children, older adults, pregnant women and those living with common health conditions like diabetes or asthma – anyone can contract influenza and spread it further to others by sharing germs. One day before symptoms appear and up to seven days after sickness have set in you could spread flu to others and spread illness further down the chain.
Since influenza viruses change and evolve annually, annual vaccination is key to protecting yourself against disease. There are multiple options for flu vaccination ranging from needle injection (flu shot) or nasal spray and are suitable for patients of all ages – infants to adults.
Misconceptions about influenza and its vaccine often dissuade people from getting protected – something which is unfortunate given that influenza can be deadly. Dispelling common myths and misconceptions related to influenza vaccination could increase immunization rates and help thwart another year of potentially lethal influenza infection.
Notably, no evidence exists to show that flu shots cause autism or any other adverse health outcomes. Concerns regarding thimerosal in certain vaccines have also been disproved by the Food and Drug Administration who found no health risks from its presence; today there are infant, kids, adult, and pregnant woman vaccines that do not include this preservative; these vaccinations are just as safe for all ages.