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Your Flu IQ: September, 27, 20111

Think you know all the answers when it comes to the flu? Then you’re in the minority, the majority of us have misconceptions. Steve Streed overseas infection control for Lee Memorial Health System.

“The walls between or the dividing lines between the hospital and the community as far as health is concerned has almost completely dissipated.”

The flu shot is the best thing going when it comes to stopping the spread of influenza. But many people are not getting the message.

While health care workers are schooled in prevention, the general public could use a refresher course. We hit the streets to test people’s flu IQ. True or False: the flu vaccine can give you the flu?

“From what people have said, they thought they got the flu right after getting the flu shot,” says Jeff Miloff.

“I’ve asked, you know, professionals in the industry and they’ve said no it can’t,” says Diane Van Arsdale.

“I think that’s a myth, I don’t think that’s true,” says Lynnie Guzman.

The ladies are correct.

“That’s one thing that I think everybody should be aware of, is the vaccines cannot cause the influenza they’re not living viruses so they can’t do those things,” says Streed.

This year’s shot once again includes H1N1. Another point of confusion: Can you spread the flu to others before you have symptoms?

“Yes I think so, because you’re probably carrying it for at least a couple of hours I would think before you actually are showing the symptoms,” says Lynnie.

Correct again. You can infect others one day before symptoms develop and up to five days after getting sick. That’s why experts advise getting the flu shot early.

“Based on a numbers game, the more you reduce the susceptibles the less likely it is to propagate in a community,” says Streed.

The flu is unpredictable, some years spreading to pandemic proportions, making prevention your best shot at staying flu-free.