Here's a simple true-and-false quiz to test your flu smarts:
- The flu starts around Christmas time, just as all the relatives arrive.
- You can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine
- You can’t have the flu and a cold at the same time
- One of the best ways to prevent getting sick is staying away from co-workers who come into work sick.
- The flu, sinus infection, a bad cold – they’re basically the same thing: they all make you feel rotten
- People are the most contagious when they start showing symptoms
- Now is the best time to get a flu shot
- Kids are some of the most effective transmitters of flu germs
- Washing your hands should last as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday’’
- Coughing into your sleeve is a good way to prevent spreading the flu
1. The flu starts around Christmas time, just as all the relatives arrive. False.
The start of the flu season varies but it usually begins in late November. The holidays and winter time, in general, makes it easier for the flu to spread since people are generally cooped up inside more often. Also, traveling can increase a person’s chances of catching some kind of bug.
2. You can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine. True.
The flu vaccine, which is updated every year to keep up with always changing influenza virus, is made from a killed virus vaccine. Even health care providers complain that they feel achy after getting a flu shot. That’s because the vaccine doesn’t prevent “influenza-like’’ illnesses caused by other viruses.
3. You can’t have the flu and the cold at the same time. False.
Wow, talk about double trouble. The flu and the cold are triggered by different viruses so yes; it is possible to have them simultaneously. And having a cold or the flu can weaken a person’s immunity, making it easier for other infections to happen.
4. One of the best ways to prevent getting sick is staying away from co-workers who come into work sick. True.
Keep your distance from “office hackers’’ and gently suggest that they go home if they are sick. Also, remember to practice good hand hygiene and wipe down your keyboards, phones, and work surfaces with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Remember germs can linger on surfaces and hands for hours.
5. The flu, sinus infection, a bad cold – they’re basically the same thing: they all make you feel rotten. False.
Yes, all of them can make you feel bad but the flu can make you feel like you were run down by a truck. When you have the flu, even your hair hurts. Extreme achiness is a hallmark symptom of the flu. In addition to extreme fatigue, the flu is usually marked by high fever and a dry cough.
6. People are the most contagious when they start showing symptoms. False.
People can spread the flu germs one to two days before their symptoms show. That’s why it is so important to practice good hygiene all the time. Once a person is sick, they can infect others for up to five days.
7. Now is the best time to get a flu shot. True.
Ideally, people should get their flu shots when the vaccine is first available but shots received later in the flu season are still more effective than no vaccination at all. It takes up to two weeks for protection to develop after the vaccination.
8. Kids are some of the most effective transmitters of flu germs. True.
It’s not your imagination; their poor hand washing and overall iffy hygiene makes them germ magnets. And then they bring it home and infect the entire family. Unlike mumps and measles, which are usually once-in-a-lifetime occurrences, parents can become sick from the same strain of flu even though they have had it earlier in their lives.
9. Good hand washing is more than a quick rinse-off. True.
Hand washing should last as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday’’. True. Start singing and remember friction between the hands is critical.
10. Coughing into your sleeve is a good health hygiene practice. True.
It’s a practice being taught in some schools to prevent the spread of germs through handshakes.