CLEVELAND - Flu season is upon us and the virus is attacking many. But how much do you really know about the flu?
After getting your flu shot, did you know it takes about two weeks to develop an immunity? Test your flu knowledge with these questions and answers from Cindy Modie, a Board of Health supervisor of vaccine services in Cleveland, Ohio.
True or false? The flu isn't serious.
False. You can have complications such as a bacterial infection.
True or false? Flu viruses are contagious.
True. If you do get the flu, ride it through. Doctors say you can treat the virus symptomatically. If you have a cough, you can use over the counter medicine.
True or false? A flu shot gives you the virus.
Both. Unfortunately, a person can get the flu following the flu vaccine. Only the three most virulent circulating strains are covered in the vaccine. That leaves many lesser varieties out there for you to catch. Also, there is a window of two weeks following vaccination when you do not have full antibodies to fight off the flu.
Is there such thing as a 24-hour flu bug?
Yes and no. The 24-hour bug is commonly referred to as the "stomach flu," which can include vomiting and diarrhea. If your flu-like symptoms disappear in 1-2 days, you didn't have the flu. The 24-hour virus is different than the flu virus you get vaccinated against. Stay hydrated if you think you have the 24-hour virus.
How long can the flu last?
One week or longer. It is based on the individual and depends on the general health of the person who has the flu.
When should someone not get the flu vaccine?
The only reason someone should not get a flu vaccine is if they are allergic to a component of the vaccine, such as prophylactic reaction to eggs and/or had a case of Guillian Barre following a flu shot.
I haven't gotten a flu shot yet. Is it too late?
You can protect yourself against the flu by getting a flu shot. If you're looking for an alternative, you can use FluMist.