7 Flu and Cold Myths Debunked

October 16, 2018

Flu season is here and it's likely that you or a family member will contract some kind of illness before the season ends. But it’s still worth the effort to avoid getting sick! And that begins with knowing what’s true about the flu.

Myth 1 – You can catch a cold from being outside in cold weather.
Many people still believe that going out in the cold without a coat will make you sick.

  • More people do get sick during the colder months, but being out in cold weather only makes you feel colder.
  • Staying indoors can actually increase your chances of catching a cold because you’re in closer proximity with others who could be contagious.

Myth 2 – You can get a cold only from someone who sneezes or coughs close to you.
When an infected person sneezes or coughs near you, their illness can spread from one person to another. But that’s not the only way germs spread.

  • Direct contact with someone who has a cold is even more likely to make you sick.
  • Hand-to-hand contact is the most common way to spread viruses several studies show.

Myth 3 – Your cold can turn into the flu.
Different viruses cause the flu and the common cold. A cold can't "morph" into the flu.

  • Both have similar symptoms, so it can be hard to tell the difference between them.
  • The flu is much worse than a cold. Symptoms like fever, body aches and extreme fatigue are more intense.

Myth 4 – The flu isn’t that serious.
Serious complications and death result every year from the flu.

  • Up to 40,000 Americans die from flu, and more than 250,000 are hospitalized each year.*
  • Children under 5, adults over 65, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses are at higher risk for complications.

Myth 5 – A flu shot can give you the flu.
No, a flu shot cannot cause flu illness. Vaccines are made from viruses that have been “inactivated” and are therefore not infectious.

Myth 6 – If you don’t get a flu shot by January, it’s too late.
It's never too late to get a flu shot during flu season, which usually peaks in February, but can run through May. The shot protects you, and those around you who are at more risk.        

Myth 7 – There’s no way to reduce the length of a cold or flu.
The key to cutting the flu short is to act right away. If you can see your doctor within the first 48 hours of infection, you may be able to cut down the number of sick days.


QualChoice members can get the flu vaccine at any network pharmacy or provider’s office with no copayment**.

*According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

**If your pharmacy benefit is not handled by QualChoice, this benefit may not be available to you. Call QualChoice Customer Service at 501.228.7111 or 800.235.7111 Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for help

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