Health official debunks flu myths
ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It's no secret the flu is spreading like wildfire. There are now 37 confirmed flu deaths in Georgia, and that number is expected to rise.
Many of us would go to great lengths to avoid getting sick. But what if some of what you think may keep you healthy actually won't.
Potatoes in your socks? The flu shot giving you the flu? Hand sanitizer over soap and water?
What really works against the flu virus, and what will keep you from getting sick?
Southwest Georgia Deputy District Health Director Brenda Greene breaks down what's true, and what's just a flat-out myth.
Let's start with the best way to wash your hands.
"Washing your hands with soap and water is the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs and things that can make you sick," said Greene.
So why are soap and water superior?
"Because you're actually creating friction and dislodging debris, and grime, and that kind of thing you can rise away," she said.
If hand sanitizer is your only option, make sure it has an alcohol content of 60 percent or above.
Next, have you heard about this home remedy? Potatoes in your socks, to cure a cold.
Or what about keeping an onion in your home to absorb bacteria and viruses?
"I don't know that those are effective," she said. "They may not be harmful. But we know of things that are effective."
Like the antiviral 'Tamiflu.'
"It is very effective if taken within the first 48 hours of onset of symptoms," said Greene.
Antibiotics, on the other hand, are not helpful when you have the flu.
"Often times people will rush to the physician in hopes that the physician will prescribe antibiotics. Flu is a virus," she said. "Antibiotics will not cure the flu."
Last but definitely not least, Greene said the flu shot does not cause the flu.
The vaccine doesn't contain a live virus, so it cannot cause a recipient to catch the flu.
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