Flu Shot Failure? Questions & Answers

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The CDC reports this year’s flu shot may not protect against a strain of influenza that’s hitting the U.S.

Q. Does this mean the flu shot is useless?

Not at all. Although this year’s flu vaccine doesn’t match two of the three main influenza A, but dropped the plan when they couldn’t find samples that would grow properly in the manufacturing process.

fatigue, and muscle aches in some people.

Q. How can I catch flu?

Flu is spread when you inhale droplets in the air that contain the flu virus, make direct contact with respiratory secretions through sharing drinks or utensils, or handle items contaminated by an infected person. In the latter case, the flu virus on your infects you when you touch or rub your eyes, nose, or mouth. That’s why frequent and thorough is crucial to limit the spread of influenza.

Q. How do I know if I have a cold or flu?

Both cold and flu bring , headache, and chest discomfort. With the flu, though, you are likely to run a high fever for several days and have headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and weakness. Usually, complications from are relatively minor, but a severe case of flu can lead to a life-threatening illness such as pneumonia.

Q. How is stomach flu different from flu?

It’s not uncommon to mistake an intestinal bug or stomach flu (called ) for the flu. Gastroenteritis refers to irritation of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and ). With gastroenteritis, you will have symptoms such as abdominal cramps, stomach pain, , nausea, and . With flu, you will have symptoms such as high fever, , fatigue, respiratory congestion, and weakness.

Q. Do treat flu?

No, antibiotics cannot conquer the flu virus because antibiotics only treat . Antibiotics may be helpful if there is a secondary bacterial infection. A few antiviral drugs are available to treat flu. Some antivirals may also reduce the severity and the duration of flu if started within the first 48 hours of flu symptoms.