Jan 22, 2013 9:16 AM

Flu myth vs. fact: Carondelet chief medical officer weighs in

TUCSON - Right now we're in the heart of flu season, which means you're probably suffering through it, or you're scared it's headed your way.

Regardless, germs aren't the only thing to watch out for. There are plenty of flu myths circulating.

Dr. Donald Denmark, Carondelet's Chief Medical Officer, says perhaps the biggest flu myth is that people think they won't get it. Everyone is susceptible.

Flu Myth #2: You can catch the flu from the vaccine. "The vaccine does not cause influenza illness," Dr. Denmark says. Getting cold or flu symptoms after the vaccine is probably more coincidence than a true effect of the vaccine."

Flu Myth #3: You can catch the flu from going out in cold weather without a coat, with wet hair, or by sitting next to a drafty window. "It's an airborne and droplet transmission, so it's in the presence of someone who sneezes or coughs," Dr. Denmark says. "You inhale the virus that is shed during that contagious period of time."

Dr. Denmark recommends people sneeze into their elbows to prevent the germs from spreading.

Flu Myth #4: Getting the flu vaccine is all you need to do to protect yourself from the flu. "Hand washing is important and avoiding crowded areas where there are a lot of people with symptoms," Dr. Denmark says.

He recommends washing the hands vigorously for at least 30 seconds. Soap and water works just as well as hand sanitizer.

Myth #5: Chicken soup will speed up your recovery from the flu. Dr. Denmark says while the warm soup made with love and care does bring comfort, it won't bring a cure.

He says the best thing flu patients can do is stay home, take your medication and drink plenty of fluids.

If you still have not received your flu shot, Dr. Denmark says there is still time, but he recommends getting it before March 1.

Any patient or member of the public visiting a Carondelet Health Network hospital or facility can be confident their caregiver has received a flu shot this year.

Carondelet's 4,400 associates and 1,100 physician partners are participating in a universal flu vaccination effort which began in September.

For more flu fighting tips head to: www.carondelet.org/home/h1n1-information/prevention-tips.aspx


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