The Flu Season
What You Think You Know vs. What You Need to Know
March 9, 2018
Beginning at the end of 2017, the flu outbreak has brought contagions and disease to the new year. This year’s strain has been one of the harder types to tackle and prevent, resulting in one of the worst flu years in recorded history. However, the spread of the unfortunate disease can be contributed in part to the lack of precautionary measures that can be taken that are not. Rumors about vaccines and medicines can endorse the flu and hinder the healing process. The first step to reducing the severity of the flu is becoming aware and educated on its cause, how it can be prevented, and how it can be treated. Therefore, compiled are the most popular myths about the flu, followed by the science that proves them to be incorrect.
Myth: Vaccines are entirely ineffective and can result in slower brain functioning and development.
Truth: Vaccines can greatly reduce the likelihood of one getting sick and the severity of symptoms for others. It is especially important for infants, senior citizens, and pregnant women, who may be the victims of a more harmful flu than others, to get their vaccine. Some hypothesize that vaccines can lead to autism. However, this theory is incorrect in that none of the ingredients in vaccines have been connected to causing autism, and several studies have contradicted the concerns.
Myth: Flu vaccines make you sick.
Truth: On some occasions, people may feel minor symptoms after receiving a flu shot. However, this is perfectly normal as the immune system is strengthening. The vaccine imitates infection so the body can effectively produce antibodies and lymphocytes. This helps build your immune system in case you are inflicted with the flu.
Myth: Once you receive a flu vaccine, you will never get the flu and will never need another shot.
Truth: Because flu vaccines work to build up the immune system rather than prevent the disease entirely, it is still very possible for someone who has had their shot to get the flu. This year’s flu takes on type Influenza A which is harder to prevent and fend off than Influenza B. Additionally, the flu alternates strains from season to season. Therefore, vaccines must be altered each year to fit that season’s flu strain.
Myth: There is no way to prevent the flu other than getting a flu shot.
Truth: While there are some complex methods to reduce the risks of getting sick, most doctors recommend some very simple safety precautions as the answer. Being aware to not touch your eyes, mouth, and nose is a very simplistic first step in the right direction. Staying away from the sneezes and sniffles of others can prevent one from catching the disease through airborne particles. According to an article by Inside Science, sleep truly can be the solution to common diseases, and lack of sleep thereof can result in the body being more vulnerable and prone to catching the flu. After conducting several studies, they found that “acute illnesses are more frequent in teenagers who sleep less.” Trying to cut and/or reduce high levels of stress in one’s life can also aid in their overall wellbeing.
Myth: I can go back to work/ school as soon as I feel better.
Truth: While it is tempting to return to the routine of everyday life after the drag of doing nothing has long worn off, it is important to make sure the flu has truly left for good and will not be a factor in contaminating others. Experts recommend resuming to normal activity after all flu-related symptoms have left, and at least twenty-four hours after your fever has gone away.