Dr. Alicia Arnold: Common cold & flu myths

As the weather gets colder, you may find yourself questioning some common myths about cold and flu season. Dr. Alicia Arnold joined us to debunk those myths!

Meghan Kulig: Myth #1: You can get the flu from getting a flu vaccine.

Dr. Arnold: The flu shot cannot give you the flu. Possible side effects of the vaccine, like aches and sometimes a low fever, can be confused with getting the flu. It also takes a couple weeks for your body to develop a full immune response to the vaccine. Therefore it's possible you could get exposed to a virus around the time you were vaccinated and get the flu before your immune system is fully prepared.

Meghan Kulig: Myth #2: Don't go outside with wet hair in winter or you will catch a cold.

Dr. Arnold: Cold and flu are transmitted by viruses, so you can't catch them just from being cold. You may get pretty chilly with wet hair, so don't forget your hat.

Meghan Kulig: Myth #3: If you don't have a fever, you aren't contagious.

Dr. Arnold: You can still be contagious even if you don't have a fever. There is even evidence that you can spread the flu to others even before you have any symptoms at all.

Meghan Kulig: Myth #4: If I'm going to get sick, there's nothing I can do to prevent it.

Dr. Arnold: While it's a simple tip we hear all the time, hand washing can help prevent the spread of disease. Scrub your hands for 20 seconds, which is about the amount of time needed to sing "Happy birthday" twice.

Meghan Kulig: Myth #5: If I'm sick for more than a few days, I must need antibiotics.

Dr. Arnold: Cold and flu viruses won't be affected by antibiotics, which work against bacteria. Sometimes it's possible to get a bacterial infection after you've been infected with a virus, so it's a good idea to get checked out if you are concerned about your symptoms or your symptoms seem to worsen.

Meghan Kulig: Myth #6: I've never gotten the flu, so I don't need a flu shot.

Dr. Arnold: There may be additional benefits to getting the flu vaccine besides just protection from the flu. An interesting study came out recently that showed that getting the influenza vaccine was associated with a lower risk of having a major cardiovascular event, like a heart attack or stroke.


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