Healthwatch: Flu Facts

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The average adult gets three colds a year. Kids get even more, but it would be unusual to get the flu more than once a year.

With the flu, you'll feel a sudden headache, dry cough and sore muscles. Fatigue sets in and you can have a fever up to 104°. It could last two weeks or longer.

"Colds usually begin slow. Usually you don't have a fever, but if they do it'll be mild. Both flu and colds are highly contagious," said Dr. Alan Greene, a pediatrician.

"Anytime somebody does have a cold, the nasal secretions are teeming with live virus. Hands get covered with live virus." That's a fact.

Myth One: Large does of Vitamin C can keep you from catching a bad bug or it will quickly cure it.

"People may report that, but there's really nothing that's come out in the literature," said Dr. Jeffery Goad of USC's School of Pharmacy.

Myth Two: You can catch the flu or a cold from going out in the cold.

While you can't get sick from being in the rain, you're more likely to catch something in the winter because viruses thrive in cold weather.

Myth Three: You can catch the flu from the flu shot. The flu vaccine is made from dead or inactivated virus. Not true.

"So basically if people were to get the flu, we would call it a coincidence," said Goad.

Besides a flu shot, the best protection is hand washing. That’s true. But studies show many people don't do it because of another myth. They think it won't help.

Myth Four: The stomach flu. Is it really a flu?

No. The actual flu only resides in the lungs and it can't cause stomach illnesses.