Hopefully, you have avoided the flu this season; anywhere from five to 20 percent of the U.S. population will get sick from the flu during any given year.
A new survey shows that many people don’t know how to treat the flu if they do fall ill.
If there’s one thing infectious disease experts want us to know is that the flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu every year.
They recommend it for everyone 6-months-old and up.
Dr. Susan Rehm, with the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, said, “Only 40 percent of adults get the influenza vaccine every year.”
The foundation is hoping to poke holes in flu vaccine myths it discovered during a new survey of 1,000 people.
Researchers say 45 percent thought the vaccine might give them the flu but doctors say that is not true.
When people get sick after getting the shot, it is likely the result of bad timing.
Dr. Rehm said, “Your antibodies build up about two weeks after the vaccine is given. So, it’s possible you could get exposed in the meantime, but right now, we know that the flu activity level is pretty low.”
In fact, 18 percent of survey responders incorrectly thought the vaccine treats the flu.
Only prescription antivirals can treat the flu but they work best when they are taken within the first 48 hours.
It can be tempting to ignore flu symptoms during the busy holiday season but etiquette experts remind us to spread cheer and not germs.
Anna Post, with the Emily Post Institute, said, “It’s not very considerate if you know that you are sick to go out to a holiday party and potentially be getting everybody else sick, too. Much better to cancel and stay home, even if it’s not as fun.”
Also, even if you’re just starting to feel sick, doctors suggest staying home.
Experts say doctors say you’re contagious before symptoms begin.
Doctors say prescription antivirals may also make you less likely to pass the flu onto others.