15 Flu Myths Doctors Wish You’d Stop Believing

Myth: You’re only contagious when you have a fever

A fever is a sign your body is fighting invading viruses, bacteria, or other pathogens—but you’re not well the moment your fever disappears. “Some people take cough syrup or Tylenol, which can reduce fever. You think your fever is gone, but you’ve only taken medication to reduce it,” says Saralyn Mark, MD, president & CEO of SolaMed Solutions, LLC. Despite your normal temperature, you could very well still be sick—and sharing the virus.

Plus, Dr. Mark says, the older you are, the less likely you are to have a high fever. “I’ve had older patients that were so ill they were in shock, but they didn’t have a fever,” she says. “They just don’t have the ability to mount a fever, so I tend not to use it as an indicator.” Here’s how to tell if your flu symptoms are real.

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