Five Winter Medical Myths – Dr Stefan Bezuidenhout

Dr Stefan Bezuidenhout from Virtus Health & Medical Centre is here to debunk a few worldwide medical myths this winter.


1. “The Flu vaccine gives you, the flu”

This is one of the most common myths. The flu vaccine contains inactivated flu viruses and cannot give you flu. What you might experience is the immune response to the vaccination which would only include slight fevers and a localised red tender shoulder for 2-3 days.


As it takes about 2 weeks for antibodies to develop, you can be infected with full blown flu in this period, purely by coincidence. The vaccine also only contains a few of the severe strains and you can therefore still be infected with some of the other viral strains.


2. “Anti-biotics works for all infections”

Antibiotics are designed to kill bacterial infections, as the flu is a viral infection it will not make you feel better sooner or kill the virus. In most cases, your immune system will clear the virus from your body within 2-3 days. If you started an antibiotic and feel better in 2-3 days it is due to your immune systems great work, not the antibiotic.


3. “Being outside in the cold, will make you sick”

A virus spreads by micro droplets of bodily fluid and you, therefore, have more chance to get infected, huddled together inside than out in the cold. During the winter though the cold air can be drier and this can cause airway irritation that leaves you more susceptible to viral infections.


4. “ Allergies are only for spring time”

During winter months, doors and windows are closed. Circulating air cons and poor air quality can lead to allergies flaring. It can also aggravate mould growth which can make some allergies worse.


5. “ Sunscreen is not necessary during Winter months”

Due to the earth’s axis and rotation, we are actually closer to the sun during winter months. You still need to apply sunscreen to prevent damage to your skin and reduce long term cancer risk.


Contact Details:

Virtus Health & Medical

Tel: +27 21 439 1555
Address: 3rd Floor, The Point, Sea Point

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