Fort Worth, Texas,
11:29 AM

8 flu myths I wish would go away

The Doc Smitty separates fact from fiction when it comes to the flu

This time of year I hear many different opinions about the flu and flu vaccines. Don’t believe the hype, talk to your doctor if you have questions or if you hear something that doesn’t make sense.

Flu Myth #1

The flu shot can give you the flu.

Nope. Not true.

Flu Myth #2

The only time I got the flu was the year I got the flu shot.

This may be true, but it’s completely coincidental. There’s no mechanism where the shot would make you more susceptible to getting the flu.

Flu Myth #3

The flu is annoying, but harmless.

This is true for many children, but we should watch for dehydration and difficulty breathing. Kids with asthma and other chronic medical conditions should be monitored closely.

Flu Myth #4

I had the “stomach flu.”

If you had vomiting and diarrhea only, you probably had another virus. Flu symptoms are fever, cough, congestion and body aches but rarely stomach problems.

Flu Myth #5

Because the flu shot is only covering 2 strains, you should skip it.

Getting coverage for 2 strains is better than 0.

Flu Myth #6

Over the counter cough and cold medicines help kids with the flu.

Cough and cold medicines do not work very well for anyone and can be harmful in kids. Just skip them. Run a humidifier and if over one year, give them some honey at bedtime.

Flu Myth #7

If you suspect your child has the flu, they need to see the doctor right away.

If they are drinking OK and staying hydrated, home care can be appropriate. Certainly call your doctor before going to the emergency room unless they have symptoms other than fever, cough and congestion.

Flu Myth #8

Every child who has the flu needs Tamiflu.

If your child is healthy (no asthma), the benefits of Tamiflu are minimal if anything, it is expensive and there are possible side effects. Consider these factors when and have a conversation with your doctor.

About the author

 is a Cook Children's pediatrician in Lewisville . He attended University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School and did his pediatric training at Baylor College of Medicine. He joins Cook Children's after practicing in his hometown of Abilene for four years. He has a particular interest in development, behavior and care for children struggling with obesity. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his 3 young children, exercising, reading and writing about parenting and pediatric health issues.

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