6 Flu Myths and Facts

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You probably know the feeling: You're going about your day, and suddenly, you start to feel achy and sick. If you've ever had the flu, you know how bad it can be. Getting the flu shot is one way to help prevent against the flu, and it's covered under Medicare Part B. The other way is to understand flu basics and common misconceptions, so you can stay healthy, instead of feeling fluish.

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Myth #1: You can catch the flu from the flu shot

Fact: A flu shot cannot cause the flu virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone age six months and older. If you're not sure if you should get the flu shot, check with your doctor first.

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Myth #2: The flu shot shouldn't be given at the same time as other vaccines

Fact: The flu shot can be given at the same time as other vaccines, including the pneumococcal vaccine.

Myth #3: Getting the flu shot is all you need to do to protect yourself from the flu

Fact: Getting the flu shot is one way to protect yourself. But there are several things you can do to protect yourself during flu season besides vaccination. Make sure you avoid contact with people who have the flu. Also, wash your hands frequently and consider taking antiviral medications if you were exposed to the flu before being vaccinated.

Myth #4: Antibiotics help with the flu

Fact: Antibiotics don't necessarily treat the flu. They only help with infections caused by bacteria. Antiviral drugs like Tamiflu can fight the flu virus, so you can feel better faster.

Myth #5: The flu shot is expensive

Fact: The flu shot is covered by Medicare Part B. If you're enrolled, make sure you get your flu shot at no extra cost. Need to enroll? Mark your calendar for the initial enrollment period. Here's how and when to enroll in Medicare plans, including Part B.

Myth #6: Antibacterial soap will protect you better from the flu

Fact: The flu is a virus, so using an antibacterial soap won't protect you any better than using regular soap. However, it's still important to wash your hands often.

If you're feeling under the weather, it's best to see your doctor. They'll be able to treat you right away, so you can start feeling better.

Amy Capomaccio is a health care writer at Aetna with experience in senior wellness, Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial health care. When she's not practicing new mindfulness techniques, Amy is spending time outdoors and traveling. Amy hails from Wakefield, MA and has a degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Tampa.

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