HERE COMES THE FLU: What You Need to Know
Flu Facts and Myths
As the weather dips and we delight in cozy sweaters and holiday gatherings there may be something we’re not so excited about: flu season. Unfortunately, the most wonderful time of the year may also bring an unwanted visitor. With the help of the CDC, we’re going to help you figure out what exactly the flu is and how you may be able to prevent it. We’ll even bust a few flu myths!
What is the Flu?
The flu (aka: influenza) is a contagious virus that affects the nose and throat, and sometimes the lungs. Cases vary from mild to severe, even fatal. The flu is spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing and talking.
What Are the Symptoms of the Flu?
The flu is infamous for its sneak attacks that seem to come out of nowhere. One day you feel fine and the next you may be in bed with one or all of the following symptoms:
Runny or stuffy nose
Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
*Not everyone with the flu will have a fever
Flu sufferers are most contagious in the first three to four days of symptoms, sometimes even a day before they start!
How Can I Prevent the Flu?
No one is immune to the flu, but there are steps you can take to help prevent it.
- Get the flu vaccine. It may reduce flu-related illnesses as well as complications from the flu.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough and/or sneeze.
- Avoid people who are sick.
- Wash your hands often.
If you’re an HPN member, the flu shot is part of your health plan coverage, so it’s no additional cost to you! http://myhpnonline.com/Member/Flu-Shot-Locations
There are various misconceptions surrounding the flu and the flu vaccine. How do you know what’s true? Here are the facts about some of the top flu myths:
THE FLU VACCINE CAN GIVE YOU THE FLU.
Flu shots are either made from inactivated (aka: killed) flu viruses, or by using a single gene from a flu virus and not the entire virus. Both produce an immune response without causing infection.
IT’S BETTER TO GET THE ACTUAL FLU THAN THE FLU VACCINE.
The flu can be very serious, and any infection comes with a potential risk of complications. It may hit younger children, older adults and people with certain chronic health conditions especially hard. A flu vaccine may help reduce the severity of the flu and decrease flu complications (if contracted).
YOU DON’T NEED TO GET THE FLU SHOT EVERY YEAR.
Your immune protection from a vaccine weakens over time, so the CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated every year for prime flu protection.
Want more? Check out additional myths and misconceptions.
No one wants the flu. It may lead to varying degrees of illness and cause you or your children to miss days of work or school—not to mention upcoming holiday fun. Prevention is key! To learn more, click here.