Flu Myths Debunked-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, January 14, 2013

Flu Myths Debunked

It’s winter-time and flu season.  I thought it would be a good time to help dispel some myths about influenza.  This information comes from www.webmd.com.  

Myth: You can get the flu or other complications from the flu shot. 
Truth: Flu shots only contain dead viruses.  You simply can’t catch the flu from a dead virus.

Myth: After December, it's too late to get the vaccine.
Truth: The flu season peaks in February and March, so even if you wait until December or January, you will still be protected during peak season.  But try to get the shot earlier next year.

Myth: Eating pork and pork products will cause H1N1 (swine) flu.
Truth: Though it originated in pigs, swine flu now gets passed from human to human, so don’t worry about the pigs!

Myth: Cold weather causes the flu.
Truth:  While there might seem to be a connection -- since flu season coincides with colder months in the U.S. -- there isn’t. After all, flu season is the same throughout the whole country: even if it’s frigid in Minnesota,   It’s   still   warm   in   Florida.
Colder weather might increase the risk of flu in one way: We might come into closer contact with other people because we’re all stuck inside. That could make it easier for the virus to spread.

Myth: Antibiotics can fight the flu.
Truth:  Antibiotics only fight bacterial infections.    Flu  --  whether   it’s  typical
seasonal flu or swine flu -- is not caused by bacteria, but by a virus. So antibiotics have absolutely no effect on any kind of flu. But this message just won’t sink in for some people.

By: Mark Banister, markb@andrew.cmu.edu, 412-268-1493