Doctor's Orders

Medical MythBusters: The Flu Shot, Antibiotics and White Lies 

Joe Chow, MD


You may have believed these myths to be true for your entire life!  Now, our own Dr. Joe Chow takes on some common medical myths.


MYTH: The flu shot can give you the flu.

Truth: Flu shots are inactivated viruses and cannot give you the flu.  People may experience other side effects from the flu shot, such as localized pain at the injection site; but we repeat — you cannot get the flu from the flu shot.


MYTH: If you see green, you need antibiotics.

Truth: We raise a red flag on this! Anything that sits around for too long in a moist, dark area — including the inside of your nose — will turn green.  Green drainage from your nose can be caused by viruses, and viruses do not respond to antibiotics!


MYTH: The white stuff on my throat means I have strep.

Truth: This is a white lie! When you have a sore throat, the white stuff you see can be caused by a virus, such as mono, or it could be debris in the tonsils. So, don’t jump to conclusions about your diagnosis before being properly evaluated by a doctor.