Medical Offices of Manhattan’s Internist, Dr. Denise Pate speaks to LiveStrong about germ myths.

She’s quoted saying:

1. Myth: Face Masks Are a Good Defense Against Catching the Flu

Keep in mind how small a virus actually is, the typical length of a virus ranges from 200 to 1,000 nanometers (for reference, a red blood cell is about 10,000 nanometers), and many of the masks on the market — which are commonly used improperly — can’t prevent something so small from entering our bodies.

The best defensive strategy is proper hand-washing, mindful covering of your mouth upon coughing and sneezing and not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

2. Myth: Wearing Gloves Can Prevent You From Picking Up Germs

3. Myth: Vitamin C Helps You Get Better Faster

The best remedy is good old-fashioned sleep, the more your body rests, the speedier your recovery.

4. Myth: The Flu Is the Same as Having a Bad Cold

In the United States alone, 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year because of the flu. Dr. Pate encourages people to get vaccinated. Even if the shot doesn’t prevent you from getting the flu, it can decrease the chance of developing severe symptoms.

5. Myth: Healthy People Don’t Need the Flu Vaccine

Anyone is susceptible to contracting the flu, including healthy people. The influenza virus mutates, so getting vaccinated each year is important to make sure you have immunity to the strains most likely to cause an outbreak.

6. Myth: You Need Antibiotics for the Flu

False, false, and false, supportive therapy, antiviral medications (not all viruses have medications) and preventative vaccines are the proper approaches for treating viruses.

7. Myth: You Should ‘Starve’ a Fever

Your immune system needs nutrients and energy to do its job, so eating and getting enough fluids is essential.

8. Myth: The Flu Vaccine Causes the Flu

The flu shot is made from an inactivated virus that can’t transmit infection. In fact, it takes a week or two for the vaccine’s protection to kick in, so people who become symptomatic immediately after getting a flu shot were already on their way to getting sick before they got vaccinated


View the original piece placement on LiveStrong.

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