AUSTIN (KXAN) - That dreaded flu season, which runs from October through May, is almost upon us and there are a lot of myths out there about the flu.
Dr. Albert Gros, Chief Medical Officer at St. David's South joined KXAN to set the record straight and debunk the top 5 myths about the flu.
1. The flu vaccine can give you the flu
Dr. Gros: "That is false and one of the leading misconceptions. The flu vaccine takes about two to three weeks to become fully effective and when you get the shot while flu season is underway, you may actually come down with the flu or a cold if you were exposed to it before you got the shot."
"It's natural to think: well, three days ago I got the shot, that must be where this is coming from. That's simply not true. The virus is inactivated in the vaccine."
2. Once you get the flu, the is no medical treatment for it.
"Again, that is false", Dr. Gros said. "There are a number of antiviral medications, Tamiflu being a prime example, that can help abort the flu outbreak or that can help make the symptoms last for a shorter amount of time."
3. You can catch the flu from cold weather
Dr. Gros: "Cold in itself can't cause you to get the flu or a cold. However, the typical condition during the winter months are that we are indoors a lot and are frequently exposed to people who have these diseases."
"That's why we see the association between cold weather and upper respiratory infections. It's simply proximity indoors."
4. After December, it's too late to get your flu shot
This is not true at all according to Dr. Gros. "Many people concentrate on getting the shot early in the season, starting in October, but we see peaks of flu outbreak as late as February or March sometimes so even in December or January it's not too late."
5. Healthy people don't need to get a vaccine
Dr. Gros: "Healthy people are less likely to suffer from serious consequences from getting the flu but by getting the vaccine you actually help prevent to spread to others who are susceptible like young children, older folks and people that have chronic diseases so it's a social service to help protect your fellow men."
The Austin Travis County Health Department is hosting free flu shot clinics. They're available for all uninsured or 'underinsured' residents of Travis County.
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