Flu Myths Dispelled

Mark Landrum, M.D., an infectious disease specialist on staff at Howard County General Hospital, dispels the following myths. (Get more facts about the flu and vaccine, or  find a location offering the flu vaccine.)


  • "I shouldn’t bother with this year’s flu shot, since last year’s shot wasn’t very effective." Actually, an annual flu vaccine is the best protection against this serious disease. Each year, vaccines contain the three most common or likely flu viruses, and some vaccines contain protection against an additional virus. [© Subbotina | Dreamstime.com]
  • “There is no treatment if I have the flu.” On the contrary, staying hydrated and getting rest will help you recover from the flu. A prescription drug given in the first two days of the flu can shorten the duration and severity. See your doctor as soon as you think you have the flu. [© Comzeal | Dreamstime.com]
  • "I could get the flu from the shot." This is a myth. The flu shot is not a live virus, so you cannot get an infection from the vaccine; instead it will boost your immune system. The nasal vaccine protects with a very weak strain of influenza that doesn’t cause significant symptoms.[© Atholpady | Dreamstime.com]
  • “At night or on weekends, I have no options except to go to the Emergency Room.” No, if you have flu-like symptoms and are otherwise in good health, most physicians suggest you stay home and treat symptoms with over-the-counter medications and fluids, or they may prescribe Tamiflu. Some doctors have an on-call answering service for after hours. Urgent care facilities are also a good option when your doctor’s office is closed. If you have difficulty breathing, a prolonged high fever, severe dehydration or relapse after getting better, seek emergency medical care. [© Ronfromyork | Dreamstime.com]

1 Comment

  1. A great overview of some of the myths of the flu, and what the actual truth of the matter is. Misinformation can unfortunately kill.