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Don't Let the Flu Stop You

Stay healthy all season long by protecting yourself against the flu. Talk to your doctor about whether the flu shot is right for you. Click here to find an NCH physician.

Be a Flu-Fighter

Debunking common myths can set you up for a flu-free season

Remember the last time you had the flu? The achy, tired muscles. The fatigue. The alternating fever and chills that wreaked havoc on your internal thermostat.

Who wants to go through that again?

Read on to see if you've fallen for common flu falsehoods that could put you at risk. It's worth a shot, right?

Myth: Cold weather causes the flu.

Truth: The flu is caused by a virus, not frigid weather. In fact, warm offices and schools are ideal breeding grounds for flu viruses, which can spread through sneezing and coughing or live on hard surfaces such as door handles and books for two to eight hours.

Myth: The flu shot can cause the flu.

Truth: The flu shot (and the nasal mist) do not cause the flu. In fact, flu vaccines trigger the development of antibodies that protect against flu infection.

Myth: I don't need a flu shot.

Truth: You may be healthy as a horse. Still, the flu shot can protect you—and the children, seniors or chronically ill friends and family you interact with—from serious flu-related complications such as pneumonia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone 6 months of age and older should get an annual flu shot, ideally by October.

Myth: If the flu season ends up being bad, I can just go get a shot then.

Truth: This is risky business. If your co-worker or kid comes down with the flu, getting a vaccination will not offer same-day protection. It takes about two weeks for flu-fighting antibodies to develop in your body.

Myth: The flu may be a nuisance, but no one's going to die from it.

Truth: The typical flu season claims 36,000 U.S. lives. The majority of those are seniors.

Myth: If I get a flu shot I won't get the flu.

Truth: While this would be utopian, the flu season sometimes plays by its own rules. You may be exposed to a different virus than your flu shot protects against. Or you may contract a respiratory illness, such as a rhinovirus, that mimics flu symptoms.

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Last Updated 04/10/2009