Health experts bust myths about flu

January 16, 2013 4:55:11 PM PST
Flu season is hitting hard. It's at epidemic levels nationwide. It's also taking a toll in Houston. Spring branch ISD is having to double up on its bus routes due to having so many drivers out sick.

Your best protection is to get a flu shot, but some people believe that will make them sick. It's the flu myth that they just can't break.

"The influenza vaccine is a good vaccine but like you stated, it's not a perfect vaccine and we have some room for improvement. Now, that it will give you influenza? Absolutely no," said Pedro Piedra with the Baylor Influenza Research Center.

Doctors say the aches some people have, is your immune system responding to the vaccine like it's supposed to.

"True influenza: someone is sick in bed for a week. High high fevers, achness, everything hurts," Dr. Dennis Cunningham with the Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Flu is spread by mainly by sneezing -- myth. It lives for hours on hard surfaces. This demonstration shows how quickly kids can spread germs. The toys are dusted with a powder that's invisible under normal light. After sharing toys for just a few minutes, you can see with black light, how much the powder -- like a virus -- has spread.

And guess who spreads the most flu? Kids!

"Germs are easy to pass around and flu is really contagious. It's very easy for one child to give it to another child and the next thing you know they bring it home," Dr. Cunningham said.

Flu doesn't kill young healthy people -- myth. It can, often from complications which include pneumonia.

There's a shortage of flu vaccine -- myth. However, experts say you may have to shop for it.

"You'll have to take a look and see which pharmacy and which physician or which drugstore may have vaccine available. It's out there," Dr. Piedra said.

If you get the flu shot, remember, doctors say it takes two weeks to get the full protection from the shot.

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