It's cold and flue season, and you may be mulling getting a flu shot.
But how much of what you think you know about the flu is true?
Try your hand at this quiz from CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.
Chris Wragge, Erica Hill and Pryia David did on The Early Show Saturday Edition!
These are all true or false questions:
YOU CAN GET THE FLU FROM THE FLU SHOT
Answer: FALSE. It can cause a sore arm, but that's it. The flu shot is made from a killed virus, so it's impossible for it to cause influenza. The vaccine does, however, take a few weeks to become effective, so if people get sick during that time, they assume it's linked to their shot.
DECEMBER IS TOO LATE TO GET A FLU SHOT
Answer: FALSE. Flu outbreaks can begin as early as October, usually peak in January or February, and can extend until as late as May. The vaccine takes about two weeks to take effect and can offer protection at any point when flu is occuring. But the earlier, the better for flu vaccination for full protection.
PREGNANT WOMAN SHOULD GET A FLU SHOT
Answer: TRUE. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a flu shot for women who will be pregnant during flu season. That's because, if you get the flu while you're pregnant, you're more likely to have serious complications such as pneumonia, and that could put you and the baby at risk. And as a bonus, there's evidence that a flu shot during pregnancy protects your baby with immunity for up to six months at a time when he or she is very vulnerable and too young for a flu vaccination.
ANTIBIOTICS CAN FIGHT THE FLU
Answer: FALSE. Antibiotics only fight bacteria. For instance, strep throat is a bacterium, but the flu is a virus. Antibiotics can't help with the flu at all. Also, nowadays, doctors try to be extra careful not to over prescribe antibiotics, because that creates the "super bugs" we've all been hearing so much about. But there are treatments if the flu is caught within 48 hours. Anti-viral medications such as Tamiflu and Relenza can help. They won't cure the flu, but they can cut the amount of time you're sick and make you less contagious to others.
YOU CAN ONLY GET THE FLU ONCE IN A FLU SEASON
Answer: FALSE. Many people assume that, once they've had the flu, they're protected from it for the rest of that same flu season. Not so, because the flu does NOT come from a single virus -- there are usually two in circulation, and you could be hit twice. So even if you have the flu, you should get vaccinated: That'll protect you from the type you didn't get.
A FLU SHOT WILL ONLY PROTECT YOU FOR ONE FLU SEASON
Answer: TRUE. The flu is a "smart" virus; it is constantly changing, with new strains developing every season. So, last winter's flu shot can't protect you from this winter's flu.