Don’t Believe the Myths, They’re Just That.
Flu season arrives every year with variations of intensity. This year, the Type A, H3 influenza strain is impacting people of all ages, and specifically in Boston, where 700 cases have been reported compared to 70 at the same time last year. Fortunately, this season’s flu vaccine does cover the H3 strain, so officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to urge people to get their flu shot. Have you received a flu shot yet?

AARP is one organization working to debunk some of the myths surrounding vaccinations. Here’s why it makes sense to get your seasonal flu shot, especially for seniors, children under five years-old, pregnant women and those with medical conditions, whether they be confined to bed, are mobile or those using a wheelchair accessible vehicle, who are more vulnerable to the virus.

The flu shot gives you the flu.
You’ve likely heard this many, many times, and it is inaccurate. What you do receive in the flu shot are killed (inactive) viruses, so you cannot get the flu from the vaccination. Side effects such as soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was administered; a low-grade fever; or perhaps some aches and pains can occur, but this is not the flu. If these side effects are felt, they typically subside after one-two days.

It’s too late to get the flu shot.
Again, this is another falsehood. Flu season typically peaks in January or February, but you can still get vaccinated. Please know:  it takes about two weeks after receiving the shot to develop full protection.

If you get the flu, it won’t return.
Wouldn’t that be amazing? Unfortunately, this is not true. Different strains of the flu circulate each season, so don’t assume if you have already had the flu, it won’t make a return. And it’s wise to still get vaccinated after having a bout with influenza.

Antibiotics will help fight the flu.
Antibiotics work well against bacteria, but are not effective for a viral infection like the flu.

The flu is only spread by coughing and sneezing.
While the flu is spread by coughing, sneezing, and even talking up to six feet away, the flu virus can also survive for up to a day on surfaces and in enclosed areas. Most frequently, the flu virus is spread when hands that have been in contact with contaminated surfaces are near your face.

It’s important not to panic about news of flu outbreaks, but rather to plan ahead by getting vaccinated (whether by receiving the shot or alternatively, the nasal spray vaccine) and practicing good hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water. Keeping surfaces sanitized, from your counter tops, light switches and door knobs in your house, the phones and desktop in your office, or the steering wheel and controls in your wheelchair accessible vehicle, helps to ensure a more germ free environment. When you’re on-the-go, utilizing an alcohol-based cleanser is also effective. Certainly, you should always consult with a medical professional to discuss your specific health needs.

This mobility safety update has been brought to you by NMEDA – the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Do you need information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features? Contact a NMEDA dealer in your local area. Your local NMEDA member is a mobility equipment accessibility expert!

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