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Flu widespread in Arizona; ASU sees uptick in cases


January 27, 2014

Did you know that January is typically the peak month for seasonal flu? The flu is now widespread in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. ASU is also experiencing an uptick in cases.

“This is the time of year when it’s imperative that our students, staff and faculty make sure they have gotten their flu vaccine and protect their friends and family from passing on the flu,” said Dr. Allan Markus, ASU Health Services director.

The university community can help keep the flu from ASU by following these recommendations:

• Get the flu vaccine at any ASU Health Services location.
• Cover your cough or sneeze in the crook of your arm, not with your hands.
• Wash hands with soap and warm water, especially before eating and after using the bathroom. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Don’t attend class or go to work when you’re sick.

There are also many flu myths that circulate annually along with the virus. Quiz yourself to see how many statements below you can correctly identify as myth or fact:

(answers below)

1. While January is usually the peak month for seasonal flu, the peak can occur anytime throughout the year.
2. A person can get the flu from the flu vaccine.
3. Influenza and pneumonia were the ninth-leading cause of death in the United States in 2010.
4. Antibiotics effectively treat the flu.
5. It takes two weeks to develop antibodies against the flu after being vaccinated.

For additional information, go to pandemic.asu.edu and watch this video about flu myths: https://asunews.asu.edu/20121205_fluvideo.

Answers:

1. Fact. Flu can happen anytime, as evidenced by the H1N1 epidemic.
2. Myth. You cannot get the flu from the vaccine, but it will activate your immune system to create antibodies to block the real flu, so some people may have mild symptoms from the shot, depending on their immune reaction. 
3. Fact. Influenza lowers the body’s defenses and can lead to secondary pneumonia. In addition, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu each year.
4. Myth. Antibiotics only work against bacterial infections, and since the flu is a virus, antibiotics can’t work against it. There are some medications that work against flu viruses, but they should be given within 48-72 hours to have any effect.
5. Fact. It takes two weeks to develop antibodies to protect from the flu. Waiting to get vaccinated until your roommates or co-workers already have symptoms doesn’t give you enough time to protect yourself.