Fact vs. Myth: Can You Get the Flu in Warm Weather Climates?

Preventative healthcare. Fall is time for Flu Shots

From how you catch the flu to how you treat it, there is no shortage of myths surrounding the flu. But one of the most common is that cold weather somehow causes it, meaning those in warm weather climates have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, this is anything but true.
Myth: You can only get the flu in the winter.
Though December to March is considered peak flu season, it’s possible to catch the flu during any month of the year. As with most diseases, the flu is spread when someone with the flu comes in contact with healthy person. It’s possible to spread the influenza virus by coughing or sneezing directly on someone or by sneezing into your hand, for example, then touching someone moments later.
Myth: Cold weather causes the flu.
Cold weather doesn’t cause viruses to spread faster, but it does encourage people to stay inside close to one another — that’s the real reason why more people tend to get sick during the winter months. With the holidays coming up, people are in contact with others more often, at crowded malls and cramped holiday parties. This means that anyone in any climate can catch the flu.
Myth: The flu is basically a bad cold.

All too often, we hear people compare the flu to the common cold, which could not be farther from the truth. The flu is a serious viral infection that attacks the lungs, nose and throat. Especially if caught by children, the elderly, or pregnant women, the flu can cause long-term damage and even be fatal in some cases.
Myth: I can get the flu from the flu vaccine.
The flu vaccine cannot cause flu. The vaccines either contain inactivated virus, meaning the viruses are no longer infectious, or a particle designed to look like a flu virus to your immune system. While the nasal spray flu vaccine does contain a live virus, the viruses are changed so that they cannot give you the flu.
Flu vaccines have a good safety record. The CDC reports that hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years, and there has been extensive research supporting the safety of flu vaccines.
With the fall season in full swing, a flu vaccine is the first and best way to reduce your chances of getting the flu and spreading it to others. CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older receive a flu vaccine every year.

For a free referral to a USC Arcadia Hospital physician, please call (888) 388-2838 or visit our website at uscarcadiahospital.org