Myth 1. My sleeping habits don’t affect my chances of coming down with the flu.
Contrary to what most night owls might say, there is a significant link between sleep and our immune system. Researchers found that getting adequate restorative sleep is crucial in helping our bodies combat the flu bug. Sleep may vary from person to person but most grown-ups normally require 7-8 hours of rest every night. Meanwhile, children and teenagers need 10-12 and 9-10 hours of sleep, respectively.
Myth 2. Lozenges can’t help much with sore throats.
Both medicated and non-medicated lozenges can do a good job of relieving a sore throat and soothing the tickling in your throat that usually comes with a dry cough.
Myth 3. The flu vaccine can give me the flu.
Vaccines are made from inactivated viruses, meaning these microorganisms have been killed through either chemical or physical processes and are incapable of transmitting infections. After a flu shot, you may experience symptoms such as mild fever, body aches and swelling in the injection site but don’t confuse these with flu symptoms, as these are merely the vaccine’s side effects.
Myth 4. A flu shot can last me a few years, at least.
Nothing lasts forever – and that includes our vaccine-induced immune response against the flu. As our body’s immunity against the bug decreases over time, an annual shot is necessary for optimal protection. Another reason why having a yearly flu shot is vital lies with the flu virus’ ability to evolve. Due to the virus’ ever-changing nature, the flu vaccine formulation is reviewed every year and if necessary, updated. So, always ensure that you and your loved ones get your flu shots annually!
Myth 5. What I eat – or don’t eat – doesn’t help prevent a flu infection.
The saying ‘You are what you eat’ is there for a reason. Experts say that having an adequate daily intake of fruits and vegetables is vital for boosting immunity to effectively defend your body from infections. In the event that your daily diet lacks the nutrients that your body needs, you can opt for supplements. Your pharmacist or doctor will be able to give you insight on whether you should take supplements and if so, which ones.
Myth 6. Antibiotics are a sure-fire way to cure me of the flu.
Many of us deem antibiotics to be the Holy Grail of flu treatment but we couldn’t be more wrong. Antibiotics may effectively work against bacteria but not viruses like the flu. In fact, taking antibiotics unnecessarily may cause your future infections to be more resistant against antibiotics.
Baby Center. Available at www.babycenter.com
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at www.cdc.gov
Harvard Health Publications. Available at www.health.harvard.edu
WebMD. Available at www.webmd.com