Test Your Cold & Flu IQ

Ah, season is here. No, we’re not talking about the changing of the colors or the crunching of leaves underfoot. We’re talking about the season characterized by sniffling, sneezing, wheezing and uncontrollable coughing. You know, cold and flu season. And as the viruses circulate, so does misinformation. Take this quiz to test your cold and flu IQ.

What symptoms do colds and flu share?

a. Runny or stuffy nose
b. Coughing and sneezing
c. Fever
d. Fatigue
e. All of the above

Getting a flu shot will give you the flu. (True/False)

Once you have the flu, all you can do is ride it out. (True/False)

Going out in the cold with a wet head will make you sick. (True/False)

To cure a nasty seasonal bug, you should:

a. Starve a cold, feed a fever.
b. Feed a cold, starve a fever.
c. Load up on vitamin d. Do all of the above.
e. Do none of the above.

1. E. All of the above. Colds and the flu share many of the same symptoms, making it difficult to distinguish one from the other. The flu is often characterized by more severe symptoms. For instance, a cold sufferer may have a low-grade fever, whereas a flu patient will experience fevers that are 101 degrees or higher. And colds usually vamoose after five to seven days, while the flu can linger for two weeks.

2. False. The flu shot will not give you the flu. This myth is perpetuated because a killed flu virus is a component of the vaccine. Because the shot may result in muscle soreness or a slight fever, people may believe they’ve been given the flu.

3. False. Antiviral medications may shorten the length of your flu, reduce its severity and even make it less contagious.

4. False. Because both colds and flu are virus-based, cold weather isn’t a factor. The reason winter months are cold and flu season has more to do with being indoors: Folks are cooped up together, so there’s more chance to pass viruses around through sneezing, coughing and other contact.

5. E. Do none of the above. When sick, eat if you’re hungry. That’ll keep your strength—and defenses—up. And the claims that large doses of vitamin C can cure what ails you are unproven. So drink that OJ if you like it, but not to shake that bug.

4–5: Your cold and flu IQ is off the charts.
2–3: You need another shot of information.
0–1: You’d better call in sick now.

Sick of Getting Sick?
Winter doesn’t have to mean coughing and sneezing. Learn how to keep from getting sick this season by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov/flu.


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