The Flu

Test your flu knowledge with these 5 questions

Originally Published: 


True or false: The yearly flu vaccine protects against all flu strains all of the time.

A. True

B. False

C. It’s complicated

B. False. Because there’s a new strain of the flu every year, the flu vaccine is not 100% effective. However, that means that even if you get the flu (and you’ve gotten your flu shot), the symptoms will be milder.


What kind of microbe causes the flu?

A. Bacteria

B. Virus

C. Archaea

B. Virus. There are two types of viruses that affect humans — influenza viruses A and B. These two are behind the seasonal flu.


How many days after you show symptoms are you contagious?

A. 5-7 days

B. 6 days

C. 7-10 days

D. 1 day

A. 5-7 days. According to the CDC, people generally stop being contagious 5-7 days after the illness begins.

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True or false: The flu vaccine can give you the flu.

A. True

B. False

C. It’s complicated

B. False. The flu vaccine is made with inactive or “killed” viruses, which means they cannot infect cells. This myth probably arose from the fact that you can still catch the flu even if you’ve been vaccinated. Or from the fact that the flu virus doesn’t start working for two weeks, which means you can catch the flu during that time.

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Unless you have a specific vaccine allergy, should you get your flu shot this year, and every year?

A. Yes

B. Yes

C. Yes

D. All of the above

D. All of the above. The flu infects millions and kills tens of thousands of people every year. Some people have underlying health conditions that preclude them from getting a flu shot. It’s up to us healthy folks to get our flu shots and reduce transmission, for everyone’s protection.

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