Debunking the Flu Myth

Flu tracking experts say technology, like online shopping and scanning at tollbooths, is reducing our exchange of money and, therefore our exposure to the flu virus. But, there are other ways to spread the flu—and doctors say the key to staying healthy may be debugging flu myths.

Myth 1: One big myth is that you can only catch the flu from someone who’s already sick. That’s not true. Adults can infect others with the flu up to one day before symptoms show—and up to 7 days after getting sick. So you can spread the flu to others before you even know you have it.

Myth 2: Think the flu is only spread by coughing or sneezing? Wrong. You can catch the flu by touching something with the virus on it, then touching your eyes, mouth or nose.

Myth 3: Another myth—antibiotics can help you fight the flu. Not true. Designed to treat bacterial infections. antibiotics have no effect on viral infections including most colds and flu, sore throats, sinus infections, and bronchitis. However, many consumers believed the flu should be treated with an antibiotic.

“Unfortunately this misperception can do more harm than good,” says Gary Kracoff, manager of the Health & Wellness Center at Johnson Drug in Waltham, Mass. “Not only will an antibiotic have no have an effect on the virus, but it may make your next infection more resistant to drugs.”

Kracoff recommends homeopathic medicines, like Oscillococcinum, to his patients. “It can shorten the duration of flu symptoms, as well as reduce the severity of fever, chills, body aches and pain,” he says. “It’s important to act quickly at the first sign of symptoms and Oscillo is available right on your pharmacy shelf, so you don’t need to wait for a doctor’s prescription. There’s no reason to hesitate taking it since it has no side effect or drug interactions.”

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