Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Myths about the Flu (and How You Can Protect Yourself)

Choosing the right partner for our clients' needs is important to us. Given all the news about the intensity of this year's flu season this was a blog post worth sharing from our friends at the Lip Balm Company

It’s flu season again, and about 20% of Americans get the virus each year and experience some downright unpleasant symptoms like chills, congestion, and body aches. As a result, we felt it was high time to debunk some of the myths that are out there regarding the flu.

Do any of them surprise you?

1: The flu shot can give you the flu. While many people believe this is true, the flu shot can’t give you the virus because the vaccine is made of dead viral particles, which can’t infect you because they’re not living. For those who have gotten the flu shortly after getting the shot, it’s possible they picked up the infection before their body formed antibodies to the vaccine, which takes about two weeks.

It’s also true that the flu shot isn’t 100% effective (more like 60-90% effective), as different strains of the virus circulate every year, and it can be challenging to accurately predict what strains will be dominant for the season — so getting sick could mean you contracted a different virus strain than what was included in your vaccine. Either way, getting a flu shot can decrease the severity of any symptoms you may or may not get.

2: People who are young and healthy don’t get the flu. It’s true that the flu is more likely to be caught by young kids, the elderly, and those with other illnesses, but it can still affect those who are otherwise healthy. You never know who you could be exposed to, and taking preventative steps like washing your hands often, using hand sanitizer, and getting a flu shot will keep you from receiving the virus or passing it to others (especially to those who are more vulnerable).

3: Antibiotics can fight flu symptoms. Antibiotics, which inhibit the growth of microorganisms, don’t work for the flu, though antiviral medications can help if taken within 48 hours of your first flu symptoms. These, however, are generally reserved for those with high risk for complications, so the best ways to fight symptoms are to rest, drink plenty of fluids, breathe in steam, wash your hands often, and use germ-fighting products like hand sanitizer.

4: Washing your hands is the best way to prevent the flu. Washing your hands thoroughly and often with soap and warm water is certainly a helpful practice, but it can’t stand alone. It’s important to avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes as much as possible, as influenza is spread through the air by saliva droplets from those who are contagious (whether or not they realize it). It can also be caught by touching contaminated surfaces and being fewer than six feet away from others who have the flu.

Using hand sanitizer between hand washings is another smart preventative measure, along with disinfecting door handles, tables, and other common areas in the workplace or your home.

5: The flu includes gastrointestinal symptoms. It’s common to hear of the “stomach flu,” but nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and other digestive distresses are pretty rare for the flu. What’s meant when people use the former term is a group of viruses that mainly cause vomiting and diarrhea — it’s possible that if you’re experiencing these symptoms, you have a germ other than influenza.

No single strategy is a sure-fire way to prevent getting the flu, so combine your healthy decisions to give yourself the best chance of averting it. Be sure to include hand sanitizer in your routine, and if you want to extend your brand’s impact as you help others stay healthy, you know who you can reach!

Which myths surprised you? 
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