'I have the flu.' That is quickly called when someone has a cold. That is one of those misconceptions about flu. Not every cold is a flu. In contrast, flu can be accompanied by coughing, sneezing and sore throat. Here we give you information about what flu really is and what the symptoms are. We also dismantle some myths about flu. Although the flu is harmless in most cases, you still have to be careful in certain situations and with certain groups of people. Read more here.
Flu, what is it really?
Flu is a contagious disease in which the respiratory tract is inflamed by the flu virus or influenza virus. You can recognize flu by a sudden high fever, which can rise to 39ºC. The fever usually lasts 3 to 5 days. Flu is accompanied by chills, severe muscle pain, fatigue and headache. Sore throat and coughing are also among the symptoms. For most people it goes away on its own. However, it may take one to three weeks for all symptoms to disappear.
How can I get the flu?
The flu virus is very contagious and spreads through mucus, saliva and snot. The virus can pass from one person to another through talking, coughing and sneezing. Furthermore, it can also be transmitted via the hands or objects. Pay particular attention to doorknobs and light switches. To prevent you from becoming ill, good ventilation of your living and/or working space is important. Also ensure optimal personal hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly and avoiding touching your nose and mouth. If you have flu symptoms, stay at home to avoid infecting others.
Who is flu dangerous to?
Although you may feel quite bad, flu is not dangerous for most people. However, there are certain groups of people who must pay extra attention if they experience this, because it can lead to pneumonia and complaints such as severe shortness of breath. People with heart and lung problems in particular must be very careful. Older people over the age of sixty are also more susceptible to complications from the flu virus. In that case, it may be wise to get a flu vaccine every winter.
Common misconceptions about the flu shot
One of the myths we want to dismantle here is that a flu vaccine guarantees that you will not get sick. Unfortunately, that is not the case, because the flu viruses are constantly changing. Can the flu have serious consequences for your health because you belong to a risk group? Then it is recommended to have a flu shot every year. Research shows that this vaccine offers 60% protection against a flu virus. Furthermore, you can also become ill shortly after vaccination, because the vaccine is not yet sufficiently effective a short time after administration.
Other myths about the flu
Nowadays, many people think that 'antibiotics' are the answer to every ailment. In any case, don't believe the myth that antibiotics are good against the flu. These medicines can only combat bacteria and not viruses, such as the flu virus. And how many times have you heard:'Don't go out without a coat or go out with wet hair, otherwise you'll get the flu!' Flu is not caused by 'cold', but by direct contact with the virus.