A Bad Combination That Goes Beyond The Flu
As you may have heard, the flu is hitting Arizona hard this year and as of January 13, the Arizona Department of Health Services has reported 14,292 confirmed cases of influenza across the state this season.
With the media focus and increase awareness comes the spread of bad information. When it comes to the flu, bad information can cause a lot of harm.
One myth that we have seen being spread across Facebook is the onion myth. The claim usually has a first person experience with no sources to back it up with claims such as “cut both ends off an onion put it into an empty jar, and place the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs…sure enough it happened just like that…the onion was a mess and I began to feel better.”
There are variations of this myth depending upon the current topic and the myth will vary from claiming the onions can prevent or stop flu virus, diphtheria, smallpox, the cold virus.
No scientific studies back it, and common sense rules it out: cold and flu viruses are spread by contact, not by their nasty microbes floating loosely in the air.
Additionally, the claim falsely states that leftover onions are poisonous; “it is dangerous to cut an onion and try to use it to cook the next day, it becomes highly poisonous for even a single night and creates toxic bacteria.”
There is NO scientific evidence that points in that direction. Cut onions do not instantly become poisonous and can be used after cut if stored properly like any other food.
When it comes to Facebook information, please check the claims for your own safety and piece of mind.
What can be done to prevent the flu?
Let’s get the info right from the CDC:
- CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
- While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common.
- Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
- Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community. CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October, if possible.
- CDC recommends use of injectable influenza vaccines (including inactivated influenza vaccines and recombinant influenza vaccines) during 2017-2018. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2017-2018.
- Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
- People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
- Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.
- Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.
Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
Learn more about flu and flu prevention: