The flu has reached epidemic proportions in Rockford. Keep yourself healthy this flu season by knowing the facts.

Piotr Marcinski, ThinkStock
Piotr Marcinski, ThinkStock

Trust me when I say the flu is horrible. I was bragging a few weeks ago that I have never got a flu shot and that I've never had the flu. Low and behold, I started my 2015 with Influenza Type A. The worst part about the flu, besides the obvious, is the actual flu test. You have to blow your nose and not wipe away your boogers. Then the doctor will swab your nose and snots to test for the flu. My nose felt so violated. But in all seriousness, the flu is no laughing matter.

Plenty of people have 'heard' myths about the flu. Such as, the flu shot will make you sick, or that antibiotics will treat the flu. Thanks to the help of my favorite internet doctors at Web MD, these flu myths have been debunked.

1. Swine Flu is transmitted by consuming pork products. Are you kidding me? People actually believe this? Experts say that despite the name, your bacon or pork chop is not going to give you the flu.

2. Getting the flu shot will give you the flu. Probably one of the most believed myths out there. No, the flu shot will not give you the flu. Experts even say that getting the flu because you got a flu vaccine is impossible. Why? Well, Web MD states:

...Injected flu vaccines only contain dead virus, and a dead virus is, well, dead: it can’t infect you. There is one type of live virus flu vaccine, the nasal vaccine, FluMist. But in this case, the virus is specially engineered to remove the parts of the virus that make people sick.

3. There is no treatment or medicine for the flu. Again not true. I personally was prescribed Tamiflu, which is a pill that can help lessen the amount of time you are sick with the flu. Doctors also may prescribe an inhalant called Relenza which does basically the same as Tamiflu. The medicines will not 'cure you' but it will eliminate some of the time you would normally be sick in bed.

4. Antibiotics will fight the flu. Wrong again. Antibiotics cure bacterial infections. The flu is a virus. As my personal doctor said, "Lori, you just have to ride this one out."

5. If you get the flu once this season, you will not get it again. Ha! This is the only myth that I hoped would be true since I've already had my share of the flu. Again, this is false. The flu is not similar to the chicken pox. There are two types of Flu in circulation, Type A and Type B, and both cause the flu. If you have had the flu already this season, you should still be vaccinated.

6. Not wearing a coat or hat in the cold weather will give you the flu.

After all, the flu season is the same time (November through March) across all of the United States. December in California or Florida is much warmer than here in Rockford, IL. Although, you are much more likely to catch the flu in colder weather, due to being inside with many people.

Not all of what you have heard in the past is true about the flu. I know one thing from my own experience, I will definitely be getting flu shots from now on.


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