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6 myths and facts about the flu



This entry was contributed by a community member.

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Autumn is in the air and that's when the annual flu season starts. While influenza – or influenza – is the most severe for older Americans and people with certain chronic conditions, the flu can affect people of all ages, leading to hospital admissions, significant health complications, and even death.

Up to 35 million flu cases are expected this year, starting in October and ending in May, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the main months are usually December through February, the best time to prevent the flu outbreak is before it starts.

Most people probably had the flu at some point ̵

1; with symptoms such as a constant cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue – but many myths and misperceptions persist. In order to eliminate general misunderstandings and clarify why a flu vaccine is important, Dr. med. Mayrene Hernandez, chief physician of UnitedHealthcare Florida, six of the most common myths and facts:

Myth : Influenza vaccines do not really work.

Fact : According to the CDC, the flu vaccine reduces the risk of developing and spreading the disease by up to 60 percent. The effectiveness of the vaccine depends on several factors – including the time span between vaccination and exposure to the disease, your age and state of health – yet studies show that the flu shot benefits the general health of the population, especially if the vaccine is well matched to this year is circulating viruses.

Myth : I was vaccinated last year, so I should be good this year, too.

Fact : The flu virus changes every year, so influenza vaccines change to keep up. In addition, the immune response of the body to a flu vaccine will decrease over time, which means that an annual vaccine is the best option.

Myth : I train and eat healthy, so I do not have to get vaccinated.

Fact : It is true that it is healthy that you can recover from illness more quickly, but it will not stop you from getting or spreading the flu virus. Even healthy people can become infected and spread the flu virus without showing symptoms.

Myth : Influenza vaccination is only required for old and small animals

Fact : The CDC recommends flu shots for every six months and as early in the fall or early winter as possible , Feeling vaccinated later in the flu season – until January or even after that – can still be beneficial. It is important to start early in the season for children as two doses of the vaccine may be necessary, with the shots being at least four weeks apart.

Myth : The flu vaccine causes strong side effects

Fact : The flu vaccine causes no harmful side effects. Some may have mild side effects such as pain, redness or swelling when the shot was administered, a mild fever or minor pain, but these are usually short-lived. You also do not have to worry about changing your drug routine because the vaccine does not interact with other drugs.

Myth : Getting the flu is not that bad.

Fact : The CDC reports that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year by flu complications, while 36,000 die from it. Reducing the risk of influenza is particularly important for people with certain conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or chronic lung disease; and for pregnant women, small children and people 65 and older. Even for people without these complications, flu symptoms can disrupt work, school, or social life for several weeks or more.

Now is the time to get a flu vaccine that is considered preventative and in most cases funded by employers, individual and Medicare and Medicaid health plans. Vaccines are available through primary care and convenience care clinics. Visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/flu to search for a nearby provider based on your postal code

Photo: The beginning of autumn also marks the beginning of the flu season. An influenza vaccine is important, and the sooner the better.

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