5 Common Flu Season Myths

5 Common Flu Season Myths

Content provided by InsWeb – With flu season in full swing, everyone’s looking for ways to beat the flu bug. But with all the flu season myths floating around out there, how can you know the best way to keep healthy? Understanding the most common flu season myths can help keep your body strong and flu-free.

The Flu Virus

Influenza (the flu) is a serious respiratory illness caused by a number of influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and in some cases can result in death. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle and body aches, vomiting, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose and diarrhea.

In the United States, flu season begins in late August and runs through April. It is during this time that most people get sick.

Myth: Layering Yourself With Blankets Can Help You “Sweat” Out a Flu or Cold

Some people think putting on extra clothing or covering themselves in a mountain of blankets can help “sweat” out a cold. Unfortunately, no amount of sweat will help you get over a cold any faster. You may be frustrated with an illness you can’t get rid of with antibiotics, but soaking yourself in sweat isn’t worth the effort.

Myth: You Can Catch the Flu From a Flu Shot

Contrary to popular belief, a flu shot is not a weakened form of the flu virus. It contains components of the flu bug, but not enough to make you sick. Some experts believe the reason people think flu shots cause the flu is because most people get their vaccine at the beginning of flu season in October or November, and then catch the flu bug from another source.

Myth: Lingering in Wet Clothes Increases Your Chances of Getting Sick

While viruses are more common during the fall and winter months, several studies have shown that being outside in cold weather does not increase the likelihood of getting sick. Most experts believe that people staying indoors to avoid cold weather is to blame for flu season, not the cold weather itself. Flu season also coincides with the beginning of a new school year when millions of children are in close quarters.

Myth: “Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever”

Whether it’s “starve a fever, feed a cold” or “starve a cold, feed a fever,” you shouldn’t do the extreme of either when you’re treating an illness. Eating can help boost your immune system by providing nutrition and energy, but forcing yourself to eat can make you nauseous. The best advice is this: If you’re hungry, eat; if you’re not hungry, don’t. But always stay hydrated. Take this one for what it is: an old wives’ tale.

Myth: There’s No Way to Reduce the Flu’s Duration or Severity

Most get-well-quick schemes are bogus, but here’s one that actually works: antiviral medication. It prevents the flu virus from reproducing, thereby minimizing symptoms and shortening the flu’s duration. It is available by prescription from a medical doctor. For this medicine to be effective, it has to be taken immediately–within 48 hours of noticing symptoms. After 48 hours, antivirals have been shown to be ineffective against the flu virus. So if you’re feeling ill, get to your doctor’s office immediately!

Without a proper health insurance policy, can you afford to see a doctor when you’re feeling ill? Everyone needs health insurance, especially during flu season. compare multiple quotes in minutes.

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Chemical that can stop you eating for pleasure is discovered by British scientists

An appetite suppressant that takes away the desire for post-pub kebabs and calorific late-night snacks has been discovered by British scientists.

The substance, which occurs naturally in the body, could pave the way for a new class of dieting drugs that help people shed pounds without distressing side effects.

The idea would be to stop us eating purely for pleasure instead of from hunger.
It could also be used to treat alcohol and drug abuse, researchers at Manchester University say.

The chemical – called hemopressin – works by affecting the reward centres of the brain that light up when someone enjoys a comforting snack or cigarette.

Tests have shown that hemopressin blocks these areas of the brain, reducing the reward from eating.

A synthetic product called Rimonabant, which acted on the brain to reduce hunger, was developed six years ago and marketed as an anti-obesity treatment.

But it appeared to increase the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts and was withdrawn from the market.

Dr Garron Dodd, co-author of the latest findings published in the Journal of Neuroscience, believes naturally-occurring hemopressin can suppress hunger without the side effects.

In tests, laboratory mice fed hemopressin ate less food.

However, the chemical had no other impact on their behaviour. An identical group of mice given a synthetic form of the chemical also ate less, but suffered side effects such as increased grooming and scratching.

‘We now plan to investigate this further,’ Dr Dodd said.

He added: ‘While our findings are an indication of safety, this cannot be immediately extrapolated to humans.

‘This discovery does, however, offer new insights into how the brain controls appetite and opens new avenues by which to manipulate this brain circuitry and aid the development of anti-obesity treatments.’

The finding could lead to drugs that stimulate the brain to produce more hemopressin, he said.

Orlistat, the most popular obesity drug, prevents fat absorption and is taken by hundreds of thousands of people.


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Apple admits iPhone 4 reception issues, says fix is coming

(Mashable) — After initially dismissing the reports about the iPhone 4 antenna reception issue, Apple has officially admitted it exists, promising a software fix in a couple of weeks. There’s a catch, though.

Apple’s promised fix may not be good news for users experiencing the problem. Apple claims it has erroneously calculated the formula which displays signal bars on the iPhone, and therefore the iPhone has been showing too many bars in areas with weak signal strength.

Here’s how Apple explains it:

“Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.”

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Unfortunately, this seems like Apple is only acknowledging one part of the problem. Anandtech’s in-depth analysis showed that the signal drop when you grip the iPhone 4 by its lower-right side is very real.

Therefore, Apple’s fix probably won’t fix that part — arguably the biggest part — of the problem, and will merely make the iPhone 4 display fewer bars in weak signal areas.

Interestingly enough, Apple claims the miscalculation was present “since the original iPhone,” so the fix will apply to older generation iPhones as well.

Here’s Apple’s official announcement:

Dear iPhone 4 Users,

The iPhone 4 has been the most successful product launch in Apple’s history. It has been judged by reviewers around the world to be the best smartphone ever, and users have told us that they love it. So we were surprised when we read reports of reception problems, and we immediately began investigating them. Here is what we have learned.

To start with, gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by one or more bars. This is true of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, as well as many Droid, Nokia and RIM phones. But some users have reported that iPhone 4 can drop four or five bars when tightly held in a way which covers the black strip in the lower left corner of the metal band. This is a far bigger drop than normal, and as a result some have accused the iPhone 4 of having a faulty antenna design.

At the same time, we continue to read articles and receive hundreds of emails from users saying that iPhone 4 reception is better than the iPhone 3GS. They are delighted. This matches our own experience and testing. What can explain all of this?

We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it is both simple and surprising.

Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays two more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display four bars when we should be displaying as few as two bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying four or five bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

To fix this, we are adopting AT&T’s recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone’s bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area. We are also making bars one, two and three a bit taller so they will be easier to see.

We will issue a free software update within a few weeks that incorporates the corrected formula. Since this mistake has been present since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.

We have gone back to our labs and retested everything, and the results are the same- the iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. For the vast majority of users who have not been troubled by this issue, this software update will only make your bars more accurate. For those who have had concerns, we apologize for any anxiety we may have caused.

As a reminder, if you are not fully satisfied, you can return your undamaged iPhone to any Apple Retail Store or the online Apple Store within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

We hope you love the iPhone 4 as much as we do.

Thank you for your patience and support.


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