6 Common Misconceptions About the Flu

by Marta Jordan Writer
If you’ve ever been sick in bed with the flu, you know how debilitating it can get. While 2021 has been a great year for influenza-related deaths in Australia, with no death having been reported in about a year, this trend is probably unlikely to continue. This is because these trends have come out as a result of stay-at-home orders, social distancing and mask-wearing, and once the country opens up again and international travel resumes, experts assume there will be a rebound in cases in the upcoming years.

This is why it is so important to educate ourselves about this virus and debunk some of the most common misconceptions people have long held about this disease. Here are a few of them:

Myth 1: The flu is just a bad cold
Wrong! While often used interchangeably, the common cold and flu are two completely different conditions with very similar symptoms. The common cold can be caused by more than 200 different viruses, but the flu is always caused by the influenza virus. The common cold also comes on gradually and has milder symptoms, whereas the flu will come on very suddenly and is usually more severe. Contrary to popular belief, the stomach “flu” is not a type of flu. The flu is a respiratory illness, not a gastrointestinal one.

Myth 2: The cold weather causes the flu
The flu is caused by a virus, not the weather. While it is true that we see more cases of the flu during the colder months, this is because people spend more time indoors in close proximity with other people, which allows the virus to spread more easily. Cold weather may provide the optimum conditions for the virus to spread, but does not actually cause the infection.

Myth 3: Getting the flu vaccine will give you the flu
The flu vaccine is made from an inactivated version of the virus that can not cause an infection. This myth gained popularity when people who had recently got a flu vaccine got sick soon after receiving it. But this phenomenon is usually seen because it takes the body up to two weeks to develop immune protection. So if you got the flu four days after you got your vaccine, it wasn’t the vaccine that gave it to you, but someone in your surroundings.

Myth 4: You don’t need to get the flu shot every year
The vaccine becomes less effective over time and the influenza virus keeps mutating and emerging in a new form every flu season. As we have experienced in the COVID-19 pandemic, each mutation can be deadlier, more transmissible or be of a variation that the previous year’s vaccine does not protect against. The flu shot is updated each year to give you maximum protection against the newest strains of the virus, which is why it is important to get one each year.

Myth 5: Antibiotics can cure the flu
Antibiotics only fight against bacteria. Flu is caused by a virus and is classified as a viral infection, which is why it can’t be cured with antibiotics. However, you may develop a secondary bacterial infection as a result of the flu, and your doctor may prescribe antibiotics in such a case. 

Myth 6: You can’t spread the flu if you’re asymptomatic
The coronavirus has taught us that you don’t always need to be showing symptoms of a virus in order to be a carrier or to transmit it to people around you. Around 20 to 30% of people carrying the influenza virus do not show any symptoms. The virus actually takes around 2-4 days to start showing symptoms, and this is the time when you may be the most contagious, which is why good hygiene, hand-washing habits and coughing and sneezing into your elbow are so important.

If you have developed symptoms of the flu and need to take time off work, it is much better to stay home and get your medical certificate online. Not only will this allow you to get more rest, but it will also prevent the virus from spreading to people in your local GP’s reception and to your GP and their staff.

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About Marta Jordan Advanced   Writer

67 connections, 0 recommendations, 222 honor points.
Joined APSense since, September 24th, 2020, From Melbourne, Australia.

Created on Oct 13th 2021 01:08. Viewed 180 times.


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