DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - We asked you to send us some of your most pressing questions about the flu. You did, so we took them straight to the experts for some answers.
Our Katie Ussin spoke with Dr. Sherman Alter, who responded to your questions.
Q: Is the flu shot more effective than the flu mist?
A: "The flu shot is a killed virus, the mist is a weakened live viral vaccine. They're both very effective. However, some studies in certain populations show certain groups respond better than others and there's data out there that when children get flu mist perhaps the protection may be a little better than the shot, but both are good.
Q: Can the flu vaccine weaken a person's immune system?
A: "You know, it's unlikely to do that. We really have no evidence for that. It's there to protect you, not weaken you immune system."
Q: Can you get the flu twice?
A: "Yes, you can get the flu more than once. Most of the time there are more than one strain of the virus circulating. So, while it's uncommon, you can get a first episode of flu and then get it for a second time that same season."
Q: How can the flu kill you?
A: "Usually you don't die from the flu, but it's especially dangerous when you have underlying problems, such as cancer, abnormalities or chronic diseases, as well as the very young and the very old."
Q: When should you see a doctor?
A: "If your fever is very high, if your not able to drink fluids well, if you're less alert than usual, if your urine output decreases (suggesting you're not getting enough fluids) or if you just look really bad you should call your doctor."
Q: Why is the flu most active in the winter?
A: "No one really knows that. We think it's a combination of the right temperature, the right humidity and you combine all that with an enclosed population living inside an office, school or a home, it's very easy to transmit. But, no one really knows the answer to that."
Q: Can you have the flu and perhaps just think it's a minor cold?
A: "Yeah, that can happen. The illness can present differently in different people, especially if you've gotten the vaccine and you get the flu, what it can do is decrease the severity of the illness. So, it can sometimes look like a bad cold."
Q: How many strains of the flu are there?
A: "Each year, there's usually a major strain that circulates within a community, but there are also other strains. Frequently, one or two or sometimes, there can be three strains circulating in a community at the same time."
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