Debunking Common Myths About Swine Flu

Updated at: Mar 11, 2015
Debunking Common Myths About Swine Flu

Understand Swine Flu Myths and Facts: Misconceptions about seasonal influenza and influenza vaccines. Read on to learn about the H1N1 (swine flu) myths and facts.

Editorial Team
Swine FLUWritten by: Editorial TeamPublished at: May 27, 2011

Myths about the swine flu are everywhere. The misconceptions and rumors about the flu are hard to contain as hard to fight the virus itself. There are urban myths and then there are rural myths but what is more surprising is that flu myths also prevail among the people who should better know about it, like health care workers. Since we all know how crucial and fatal swine flu is, we should know what the fact and what’s the myth. Some of the common myths associated with swine flu have been debunked here:

swine flu

1. Myth:

By eating pork I can get infected with swine flu.


No, by eating pork you cannot get infected with swine flu. H1N1 swine flu virus does not spread this way. It is a respiratory virus, and spreads from person to person by droplets released during coughing or sneezing.

2. Myth:

I cannot get infected with H1N1 swine flu virus if I wear a mask.


Wearing a mask does not protect from swine flu. The effectiveness of facemasks and N95 respirators in reducing the risk of influenza infection has not been evaluated in community settings. Use of facemasks and N95 respirators in community and home settings is generally not recommended. So clean your hands often with soap and water, practice good cough etiquette and if possible avoid contact with a person with flu like illness.

3. Myth:

I’m a healthy adult so I cannot get infected with swine flu.


Wrong, Swine flu, like seasonal flu, can infect anyone and unlike the regular seasonal flu virus which infects the elderly, swine flu infects children, teens, young adults and pregnant women. The risk of complications, hospitalization and death from swine flu is there even in young healthy adults.

4. Myth:

I will get swine flu after swine flu vaccine.


No. You won’t get swine flu infection because of swine flu vaccine. The vaccine is made from egg-based technology that contains particles of dead virus, and hence there is no way that influenza infection can be transmitted by influenza vaccine.

5. Myth:

Vaccines are not effective and can be even dangerous. It is better that I take my child to a swine flu “get-together” where he or she will get the infection and develop a natural immunity to it.


No, vaccine has minimal or absent side effects and is not dangerous. Experts recommend that if the vaccine is available get your child vaccinated with the swine flu vaccine. Swine flu parties are not recommended and can be dangerous. The risk from the vaccine is very much less as compared to the risk involved in actual exposure to the virus.

6. Myth:

Cleaning hands with alcohol based sanitizer isn’t as effective as washing my hands.


Washing hands is one of the best ways to prevent many common infections. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. If soap and water is not available you can use an alcohol-based hand gel to clean hands. These are also effective in killing the swine flu virus.

7. Myth:

I should not take my child to the zoo as it has piglets and I’m afraid he’ll catch swine flu.


This is wrong. Evidence does not suggest that the virus is being spread from pig to person. You can go the zoo and there is no reason to cancel the trip. Teach your child good hygiene measures such as; that they should wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer after touching any pet or farm animal.

8. Myth:

I should stop shaking hands with people as this can infect me with swine flu virus.


You can shake hands with a person as long as he or she does not have flu like symptoms. If you have flu like symptoms please avoid going to work, school or in public gatherings and do not shake hands with others. Swine flu is transmitted by virus released during coughing and sneezing in droplets that land on a susceptible host or touching surfaces contaminated with the virus.

9. Myth:

The regular flu shot each year can protect from swine flu as well.


No, the regular flu shot does not protect from swine flu infection. If the swine flu vaccine is available you should get vaccinated with this vaccine to get protection from swine flu infection.

10. Myth:

I have a sore throat, cough and cold, so probably I have swine flu.


The symptoms of both seasonal influenza and H1N1 are similar. The symptoms include fever (more than 38 degree C) associated with aching muscles, sore throat and/or a dry cough. Consult your doctor if you have flu like symptoms. Your doctor will be able to tell you better if you have swine flu.

11. Myth:

Swine flu is worse than seasonal flu.


This is probably not true. Data to support this statement is not there. The deaths from seasonal flu and swine flu are probably the same. Health care officials are worried about swine flu because it is a new type of virus and has not been fully studied.


Read articles and Understand Swine Flu



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