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Quiz: Do You Fall For Old Flu Myths?

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You can get the flu from a flu shot.

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You can get the flu from a flu shot.

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This myth really caught on over the years. Flu shots are made with dead viruses or without any viruses at all. You can’t catch the flu from getting one. Your arm might hurt after the shot. You might have aches or a low fever. But you'd feel a lot worse if you caught the flu.

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You can spread the flu before you know you’re sick.

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You can spread the flu before you know you’re sick.

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Here’s one of the tricky things about the flu: You can pass it to someone before you have symptoms, while you’re sick, and up to a week after you start feeling bad. Some people, especially kids and those with weakened immune systems, can be contagious even longer.

The flu isn’t serious.

The flu isn’t serious.

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Some people get so sick that they need to go to the hospital. They can get pneumonia, bronchitis, or other complications. The flu is most dangerous for children, people 65 and older, and those with other health problems. About 90% of people who die from the flu are older adults.

You have to be near someone to get the flu.

You have to be near someone to get the flu.

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People with the flu can give it to anyone within about 6 feet. (Keep that in mind the next time you’re on a bus or a train and someone is coughing and sneezing.) The flu usually spreads when a sick person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Droplets of saliva and mucus can travel to your nose or mouth. You can also get the flu by touching something like a door handle or a phone with the virus on it.

Who should get the flu vaccine?

Who should get the flu vaccine?

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Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself. Everyone 6 months and older should get it every year. It will help guard you against the 3 or 4 strains predicted to strike hard that flu season. Scientists update the vaccine each year. Talk to your doctor if you have health concerns or questions.

The flu shot is the only way to get the vaccine.

The flu shot is the only way to get the vaccine.

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Kids hate shots, as do many adults. Does a nasal spray sound better than a needle? Healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49 can get the spray -- as long as they're not pregnant. It's also the preferred vaccine for healthy children 2 to 8 years old. The spray contains the weakened live virus, but it can’t give you the flu. If it’s not available, don’t wait for it. Play it safe and get the vaccine the old-fashioned way.

What’s better for preventing the flu?

What’s better for preventing the flu?

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Antibacterial soap or gel won’t protect you any more than plain old soap and water will. If you wash your hands often and well, you’ll get rid of germs and viruses that stick to oil on your hands. 

You can catch the flu from going out with wet hair.

You can catch the flu from going out with wet hair.

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Mom wasn’t right about this one. Heading out with wet hair won’t raise your chances of getting the flu. (And neither will going out in the cold without a coat.)The only way you can get it is by being exposed to the virus. 

The flu virus changes all the time.

The flu virus changes all the time.

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The flu that’s keeping your partner in bed might not be the same one that made your aunt sick last year. That’s because flu viruses are always changing. They can vary from year to year. They can even change in the middle of a flu season.

Antibiotics help with the flu.

Antibiotics help with the flu.

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There’s no point in asking your doctor for antibiotics. They only help with infections caused by bacteria. Antiviral drugs like oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) can fight the flu virus and make you feel better faster. They work best if you take them within 2 days of getting sick, so be sure to ask your doctor about these meds ASAP if you think you have flu symptoms.

Getting a flu shot late is better than skipping it.  

Getting a flu shot late is better than skipping it.  

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Get your flu shot as soon as the vaccine is available in the fall. It takes about 2 weeks to work, so it’s best to get it before flu season is in full swing. If you’ve put it off past November, the shot can still help protect you. Flu season is usually the worst from December through February, but it can last well past that.

“Stomach flu” is a kind of seasonal flu.

“Stomach flu” is a kind of seasonal flu.

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A lot of stomach flu culprits -- like bacteria, a virus, or a parasite -- can make you queasy, throw up, and have diarrhea. Even though these same symptoms can come with the seasonal flu, especially in children, the flu is mainly an illness of the nose, throat, and lungs -- not the stomach and intestine.

Your Score:     You correctly answered   out of   questions.
Your Score:     You correctly answered   out of   questions.
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Great job! When it comes to separating flu fact from fiction, you call the shots!

Well done! You really caught on. You know a lot about the flu!

Don’t let your results bug you. Study up on the flu and take the quiz again.

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