Arm yourself for winter’s peak flu season with a vaccine, and take this quiz to find out how much you know.
Along with the promise of a new year, January means peak flu season for Southern folks. If you haven’t already, give yourself the gift of protection with the flu shot now, before holiday travel ramps up the risk.
Call your primary care physician or pediatrician for flu shot options. The Vanderbilt Health and Williamson Medical Center Walk-In Clinics in Brentwood, Cool Springs, Franklin and Spring Hill, Tenn., offer flu vaccinations.
How flu savvy are you?
- True or False: You need to get a flu shot every year, even if you’re healthy.
True. The flu virus changes from season to season, so one year’s vaccine won’t necessarily protect you for the following year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone over 6 months of age be vaccinated. Even if you’re one of those lucky people who rarely get sick, you still need a flu shot. You never know when you’re going to come into contact with the virus. Avoiding the flu also can help reduce the risk of infecting those around you who are more vulnerable.
- True or False: The flu shot might actually give you the flu.
False. A flu vaccination cannot give you the flu. Keep in mind that it takes two weeks after receiving the flu shot for antibodies that protect you to develop. If you are exposed to the flu right before receiving the vaccination or within that two-week period, you might get sick. The most common side effect people experience is soreness around the injection site if receiving a shot.
- True or False: Getting flu is annoying, but it can’t kill you.
False. People often recover in a week or two, but flu deaths are reported every year. Flu can lead to pneumonia or a secondary bacterial infection. Each year, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu. If you start experiencing severe symptoms (high fever, trouble breathing, coughing up blood), see your doctor immediately or head to the ER.
- True or False: Bundling up won’t prevent you from getting the flu.
True. You get the flu only when you’re exposed to the flu virus. Your scarf, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with it. Studies have shown that flu spreads easier when humidity and temperature drop. That’s likely why flu season coincides with winter.