The biggest myths about flu and the flu jab

Flu jabs are pretty important (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Let’s face it, summer is dead.

Winter is on the way, and with it comes the threat of seasonal flu, which will inevitably leave you tucked up in bed for two days as you desperately attempt to battle the virus that is swirling inside your body and making you feel like death warmed up.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. The good folks at NHS choices have come up with a handy guide on all you need to know about the Flu this year, which is expected to see higher levels of the virus than usual. Here’s their expert tips.

  • Having Flu is the same as a cold.
    It’s really not. A bout of flu is much worse, and it is likely to have symptoms that come on suddenly, including fever, chills, headaches, aching muscles, and a sore throat You’re also likely to spend a couple of days in bed.
  • The flu vaccine gives you flu
    Nope, you’re all clear on this one. The flu vaccine contains inactivated flu viruses, so it won’t affect you. Your arm might be a bit sore after the injection and you might get a slight temperature for a couple of days, but that’s it. The same can be said for the children’s nasal spray flu vaccine, which contains weakened flu viruses.
  • Flu can be treated with antibiotics.
    It can’t. Flu is caused by viruses, and antibiotics don’t work against them. Instead, you may be prescribed antiviral medicines to reduce the amount of time you are ill and make you less infectious to others.
The NHS fears the worst flu season in history (Picture: REX)
  • I’m pregnant, should I have the flu jab?
    Yes, you could get very ill if you get flu while pregnant, and it could be seriously bad for your baby. Having a flu injection is also likely to protect your child against flu after they’re born and during the early months of their life.
  • One flu jab will protect me for life.
    Afraid not. The viruses that cause flu can change and mutate every year, so you’ll need a new vaccination that is effective in tackling the new strains of the virus.
  • Will the flu jab protect me against swine flu?
    Yes! This year, the flu vaccine will protect against three different flu viruses, including the H1N1 swine flu virus which is expected to re-emerge this year.
  • I take Vitamin C, so I’ll be fine, right?
    Not quite. Many people believe that taking daily vitamin C supplements will prevent them from getting flu, but there’s no actual evidence to support this.