Myths About the Flu

A woman coughs into her elbow while looking at a thermometer.

The Flu affects millions of people between October and March, and with all the information out there, it can be difficult to sort out the facts. That’s where MainStreet comes in! Read on to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the flu. 

Spreading The Flu

The flu is extremely contagious, but not all assertions about how it spreads are true. 

Myth 1: If I Feel Better, I’m No Longer Contagious.

When you’ve been sick with the flu, it’s easy to get a little stir-crazy, but it’s important to remember that you could still be contagious even if you’re feeling better.

In fact, according to Harvard Health, 20-30% of people who spread the flu have no symptoms. If you have recently tested positive for the flu, make sure you follow all of your provider’s instructions, especially when it comes to the amount of time you need to quarantine.

Myth 2: Anyone Can Catch The Flu From Cold Weather.

Cold weather does not spread the flu! Although flu season falls in the colder months of the year, the temperature actually has nothing to do with why people catch the flu during this time.

In reality, the flu virus is more likely to be spread in winter months due to the amount of circulated air people breathe in. This is especially true for those who work with lots of other people in large buildings or those who have children who attend school. 

Flu Vaccine Myths

When it comes to misinformation about the flu, vaccines bear the brunt. Let’s dig into some of the more pervasive ones.

Myth 3: The Vaccine Gives You The Flu.

Many people complain of getting sick right after their annual flu shot, so they think the vaccine has given them the flu. This is not the case! Flu vaccines contain an inactive version of the virus that can’t get you sick.

If you feel ill after your vaccine, you are most likely experiencing side effects. Additionally, it take up to two weeks for the vaccine to take full effect, so if you catch the flu within this time frame, you likely are not receiving the full effects of the vaccine yet. 

Myth 4: “I’m Healthy, I Don’t Need A Flu Vaccine!”

Healthy people need flu vaccines, too! The vaccine helps your body develop antibodies that can protect you against flu viruses.

Additionally, if you are around those with weakened immune systems or chronic illness, it is especially important that you have the extra layer of protection from the flu so you do not spread it to them. 

Need to get your annual flu vaccination? MainStreet can help! We offer flu shots in our urgent care services

Myth 5: “I Got the Flu Shot Last Year, I Don’t Need One This Year.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone six months of age and older receive a flu shot every year to help protect themselves from contracting the virus. 

Flu Symptoms Myths

The flu comes with a few distinct symptoms, but it can be difficult to discern the flu from other viruses. 

Myth 6: The Flu Is Just A Bad Cold.

Influenza viruses are much different than cold viruses, even though some of the symptoms are similar. A few of the major differences between the two include: 

  • Flu symptoms develop suddenly and are more intense than cold symptoms.
  • Flu can cause many other health complications like pneumonia and chronic illness, while the common cold typically does not.
  • It can take more than a week to get over the flu. The common cold usually only lasts a few days.

If you’re unsure if your illness is the flu, get tested!

Myth 7: Upper Respiratory Symptoms Are The Only Symptoms.

While symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, and fever are most common in the flu, there are other symptoms that can accompany these. Vomiting and diarrhea are some additional symptoms that people may suffer from when they catch the flu. 

Myths About Treating The Flu

Flu treatment may not be the same for everyone, but there are some methods that are not effective. 

Myth 8: I Need Antibiotics To Treat The Flu.

The flu is a virus, not a bacterial infection. Antibiotics only work against bacteria, not viruses, so they aren’t effective against fighting influenza viruses or their symptoms.

Best practices for treating the flu include staying hydrated, taking over the counter medications for fever and pain, using nasal sprays to help with congestion, and getting plenty of rest. 

Myth 9: Chicken Soup Will Solve My Symptoms.

While eating chicken soup may help with certain symptoms like sore throat and dehydration, it is not the cure to the flu. Make sure you are also eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water to combat any complications of the flu. 

Turn To KidsStreet Urgent Care

Are you struggling with a nasty case of the flu? MainStreet is here to help you heal and feel better fast!

To visit a clinic, register online. Online registration allows you to wait from home or in your car until we are ready for you. We’ll send you a text when it’s time to head to the clinic. 

Didn’t have time to register online? No worries. We accept walk-in patients daily. However, we highly recommend registering ahead of your visit as it reduces in-clinic wait times. Walk-ins are added to the same queue as those who register online.