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Flu Myth #7: “Stomach flu” is a form of influenza.

The word “flu” is so overused that it’s lost much of its actual meaning.  Gastrointestinal viruses are called the “stomach flu,” but they have no connection to the actual influenza virus. If you suffer vomiting and diarrhea, but no fever or body ache, you probably do not have the flu.

Keep in mind: in children, the influenza virus can sometimes cause vomiting and diarrhea. And these symptoms have also been associated with some cases of swine flu.

But when it comes to typical seasonal flu, vomiting and diarrhea are rare in adults, says Trish M. Perl, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore.

Flu Myth #8: If you get the flu, you can’t get it again during that flu season.

Many people assume that if they’ve had the flu recently, they can’t get it again -- and thus don’t need to get the vaccine, Perl says. That’s not the case because flu infection can happen from more than one strain of virus.

“In any flu season, there’s usually both Type A and Type B influenza in circulation,” Perl tells WebMD. Both can cause the flu. It’s quite possible that you could get infected with one type and then the other.

So if you’ve already had the flu, you should still get the vaccine. “Otherwise, you could be sick and unhappy twice,” Perl says. 

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