Tag Archives: flu shot

How you need to fight the flu

The flu has further tightened its grip on the U.S. This season it is now as bad as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago, according to Medical Xpress.

A government report out Friday shows one of every 13 visits to the doctor last week was for fever, cough and other symptoms of the flu. That ties the highest level seen in the U.S. during swine flu in 2009.

And it surpasses every winter flu season since 2003, when the government changed the way it measures flu.

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Here are two of my weapons for fighting the flu.

“I wish that there were better news this week, but almost everything we’re looking at is bad news,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flu season usually takes off in late December and peaks around February. This season started early and was widespread in many states by December. Early last month, it hit what seemed like peak levels—but then continued to surge.

The season has been driven by a nasty type of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths than other more common flu bugs. Still, its long-lasting intensity has surprised experts, who are still sorting out why it’s been so bad. One possibility is that the vaccine is doing an unusually poor job; U.S. data on effectiveness is expected next week.

I have written an entire page on fighting the flu which you can access here – How to fight the flu. For the record, I recommend flu shots. I know that this is an emotional hot button for people, so if you are against them fine. Your call. I am aware that this year’s flu shot was off as far as nailing the virus and it has been called only 10 percent effective. Okay, that is not as good as the usual round of vaccinations, but I will still take it against no shot. In addition, doctors tell me that if you get the flu after the shot, it is a less virulent dose and you recover faster, also you don’t spread flu germs as much as an unvaccinnated person.

I would like to conclude with a very down to earth recommendation that I hope you will heed. Keep your hands clean. You can bring flu bugs into your body by touching a dirty surface and moving your hands to your face. The virus enters through your open mouth, nose and eyes. If you ride public transportation, wear gloves to hold on to the strap or pole. You don’t know who held it previously or what germs they were carrying. Likewise, in your public dealings. I live in a high rise building. So, I touch a lot of surfaces, elevator buttons, door handles, etc. that others touch. So, I am carrying hand wipes as well as a liquid disinfectant that I rub on my hands.

The flu is hardy and can survive on surfaces for a day. A common way to catch it is to touh your face after  you touch an infected surface. Pay attention and don’t touch your face before washing your hands.

Here is what the CDC says about flu germs spread:

Person to Person

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

To avoid this, people should stay away from sick people and stay home if sick. It also is important to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately. Further, frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill.

The Flu Is Contagious

Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

We have long weeks ahead of us till the flu threat abates, stay clean.

Tony

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Tips on Fighting the Flu – WebMD

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly 20 percent of Americans get the flu each year. More than 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized every year and between 3,000 and 50,000 deaths occur due to flu. There is a good chance that these statistics would improve dramatically if more people got a flu shot.
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WebMD queried doctors on flu prevention and reported that doctors had the following recommendations on fighting the flu.:

Wash your hands to keep germs away.
“I wash my hands or use a hand sanitizer before and after every patient,” says Christopher Tolcher, MD, a pediatrician in the Los Angeles area and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles. “Hands are veritable germ factories, so keep them away from your nose and mouth. Also keep them away from your food during cold and flu season.”

They also recommended alcohol based cleansers and antiseptic wipes.

Exercise for Immunity
“I try to get 20 to 30 minutes of cardio every morning before I go to work,” Fryhofer says. “There’s something about making your heart pump that’s good for your body. It strengthens your heart and strengthens your immune system,” says Sandra Fryhofer, MD, MACP, clinical associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine and a general internist in Atlanta.

Chicken soup
Although doctors use over-the-counter drugs when their symptoms are severe, they only do it sparingly. They recommend nice hot chicken soup because the vapor clears nasal passages and relieves throbbing in the sinuses

The key is prevention
The experts agree that prevention is the key. They all say that a flu shot is essential and they recommend staying in the best health year-round.

Regular readers already know that I strongly favor getting a flu shot and early in the season. That would be late September or early October. It usually takes the vaccine two weeks to start working. As flu season extends into the new year, the vaccine should be effective for several months of protection.

To read further on flu fighting check out my page How to Fight the Flu.

Tony

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Dispelling Myths About Flu Shots

For most people the flu shot is free, either because they have a government insurance plan such as MediCare or MediCruz, or they have private insurance.

I feel strongly that everyone should get a flu shot. Please read my Page: How to Fight the Flu for more.

Tony

Valley Doctor

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It’s time for me to make my annual plea for everyone to get their flu shot. In today’s column, I’d like to answer common questions I hear about influenza and the flu shot.

– Can’t I get the flu from the flu shot?

This is a very common myth and proven to be wrong. You cannot catch the flu from the flu vaccine. The flu vaccines that are given by needle are made with viruses that are killed (inactivated), and cannot cause an influenza infection.

– I’ve had the flu shot previously and I got the flu anyhow.

This is possible, but not likely, in that no vaccine is 100 percent effective.

– I’ve never had a flu shot and have never had the flu.

Consider yourself lucky, and as in most cases, one’s luck will usually wear out. Don’t take a chance, this could be the year.

– The…

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Flu Shot May Cut Risk of Stroke, Too – NIH

Regular readers know I feel very strongly that getting a flu shot is a good idea and greatly increases our chances of missing out on this annual disease. I have an entire page on flu shot related items.

Now, the National Institutes of Health publication HealthDay reports that getting a seasonal flu shot “might also significantly reduce your risk of stroke.

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“We know that cardiovascular diseases tend to hit during winter, and that the risks may be heightened by respiratory infections such as flu. Our study showed a highly significant association between flu vaccination and reduced risk of stroke within the same flu season,” said lead investigator Niro Siriwardena, a professor in the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Lincoln in England.”

I always start advising personal friends as well as readers to get their flu shot in October to be protected for the entire season. That turns out to be a good thing as the study authors said stroke risk reduction was strongest if a person received a shot early in the flu season.

To read more on this season’s flu type in the word flu in the box and the right and click search.

Tony

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Tips on Fighting the Flu – WebMD

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly 20 percent of Americans get the flu each year. More than 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized every year and between 3,000 and 50,000 deaths occur due to flu. There is a good chance that these statistics would improve dramatically if more people got  a flu shot.
images

WebMD queried doctors on flu prevention and reported that doctors had the following recommendations on fighting the flu.:

Wash your hands to keep germs away. “I wash my hands or use a hand sanitizer before and after every patient,” says Christopher Tolcher, MD, a pediatrician in the Los Angeles area and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles.

“Hands are veritable germ factories, so keep them away from your nose and mouth. Also keep them away from your food during cold and flu season.”

They also recommended alcohol based cleansers and antiseptic wipes.

Exercise for Immunity“I try to get 20 to 30 minutes of cardio every morning before I go to work,” Fryhofer says. “There’s something about making your heart pump that’s good for your body. It strengthens your heart and strengthens your immune system,”   says Sandra Fryhofer, MD, MACP, clinical associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine and a general internist in Atlanta.

Chicken soup Although doctors use over-the-counter drugs when their symptoms are severe, they only do it sparingly. They recommend nice hot chicken soup because the vapor clears nasal passages and relieves throbbing in the sinuses

The key is prevention
The experts agree that prevention is the key. They all say that a flu shot is essential and they recommend staying in the best health year-round.

Regular readers already know that I strongly favor getting a flu shot and early in the season. That would be late September or early October. It usually takes the vaccine two weeks to start working. As flu season extends into the new year, the vaccine should be effective for several months of protection.

To read further on flu fighting check out my page How to Fight the Flu.

Tony

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Some excellent tips here …. You have to resist the temptation to ‘make up for lost time.’ Let your body recover. Don’t set yourself back.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Although physical activity can help boost your immune system, people who are sick should tone down their workout or skip it altogether, experts advise.

“Regular exercise is a great way to reduce stress and sleep better at night. This helps boost your immune system. However, vigorous exercise and extreme conditioning can have a negative impact on your health if you’re sick,” Joe Berg, a personal trainer and fitness specialist at Loyola Center for Health, said in a Loyola University news release.

“When fighting a viral illness, it’s best to keep your exercise session short and not as intense. If you have a fever or stomach bug it might be best to hold off,” Berg added.

For those recovering from an illness, it’s best to ease back into a workout routine slowly. Berg recommends starting small with some light aerobics, such as walking and cycling at an easy pace as well…

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Flu Season

Good info to have during flu season.

Cooking with Kathy Man

People suffering from the flu can give off small virus particles into the air at greater distances than previously thought, putting the health care workers who treat these patients at increased risk for getting the virus themselves, researchers report.

The investigators, from Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina, suggest that more studies are needed on how the flu is spread. Infection-control guidelines for health care providers may also need to be updated to help these workers protect their health.

The study was published in the current edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

“Our study offers new evidence of the natural emission of influenza and may provide a better understanding of how to best protect health care providers during routine care activities,” the researchers, led by Dr. Werner Bischoff, wrote in the report.

For the study, Bischoff’s team screened 94 patients with flu symptoms who were admitted…

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A Doctor Visit in Flu Season

Having written about flu season for the past few months, when I started getting head cold symptoms last week and got nervous. In addition, an arctic freeze struck Chicago which has kept me off my bike. I found that working out in the health club, I was feeling really wiped out from a light workout. I actually napped afterwards. That and the head cold symptoms were enough for me. I booked a doctor visit. Mr. Conservative wasn’t taking any chances. I had gotten my flu shot early, but didn’t want to take any chances.  As I recommended to readers, I had gotten my flu shot early, but didn’t want to take any chances. You can read further on How to Fight the Flu elsewhere in the blog.

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Here’s how bad the weather has been, “Chicago’s coldest blast of air in 2 years is easing—but slowly. By midnight Tuesday, the area moved into a 55th consecutive hour of sub-20-degree thermometer readings and 46 hours with wind chills below zero. Tuesday’s 11-degree high and 1-below morning low put the day into the record books as the city’s coldest of the past two years,” according to the blog of Tom Skilling, the awesome local meteorologist.

The walk to the doctor’s office over a mile was a bracing start to the day. Continue reading

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Overseas Tips on Fighting the Flu – London Daily Mail Online

The U.S. isn’t the only place afflicted by the current flu outbreak. The web version of London’s Daily Mail also takes up the battle.
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Mail Online has a raft of suggestions on how a person can fortify him/herself against that nasty flu.

My personal favorite, as regular readers know, is to get a flu shot. Here’s what the Mail says, “The Department of Health is urging all those in ‘at risk’ categories to have free flu vaccinations. These include everyone aged 65 and over, people of all ages with chronic heart disease, respiratory conditions like asthma and those with diabetes. People living in nursing homes and NHS healthcare workers are also encouraged to have the jab.”

Our shot is their jab.
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Hand-washing is Another Weapon in our Anti-Flu Arsenal

Another weapon in our arsenal against the flu. To read further on the flu:

Flu Season Update – Worst in 10 Years

Oleda Baker Recommends Flu Shot

Flu Season Starting Early This Year

Meditation or Exercise Can Reduce Flu Symptoms

Should I Get a Flu Shot?

Green Tea Helps to Fight Flu

Flu Shot Effect Diminished by Extra Weight

Overseas Tips on Fighting the Flu- London Daily Mail Online.

Tony

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Some Steps to Prevent the Flu From Catching You

First of all, as I have recommended several times here, get that flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest everyone over the age of 6 months get one.

I took a course from The Great Courses entitled “Lifelong Health: Achieving Optimum Well-Being at Any Age.” The professor stated that for people over 65 influenza is the most common preventable cause of death. Additionally, vaccinations in adults could prevent about 80% of all influenza deaths.

Besides your flu shot there are other good actions you can take that reduce your likelihood of coming down with the flu.

2307429541_2a7d43048a_zThe CDC  recommends the following:

• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

If you come down with the flu, the CDC says to take antiviral drugs if your doctor provides them.

• If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.
• Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
• Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high risk factors , treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
• Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.
• Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

Tony

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Flu Outbreak Worsening

This flu season is shaping up as one of the worst cold and flu seasons in 10 years. More than 40 states reporting widespread doctor visits and hospitalizations for influenza, the Centers for Disease Control reported.

Some doctors have reported that last year’s mild flu season has reduced demand for vaccinations this year. Hospitals in Chicago and Boston are turning patients away. Some hospitals in Dallas have run out of flu vaccine.

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Searches on Google’s Flu Tracker have risen sharply every week since the start of December and stand more than 200 percent higher than last year.

January and February are the worst months for flu, so it is still early in the season.

I took a course from The Great Courses entitled “Lifelong Health: Achieving Optimum Well-Being at Any Age.” The professor stated that for people over 65 influenza is the most common preventable cause of death. Additionally, vaccinations in adults could prevent about 80% of all influenza deaths.

Finally, if you have something new and different occurring in your body tell your doctor about it. Getting out in front of disease can keep you alive longer. It puts the odds of staying healthy way in your favor.

I have written a number of items on getting flu shots. Please check them out and get a flu shot.

Flu Season Starting Early This Year

Should I Get a Flu Shot?


Senior Supermodel Oleda Baker Recommends Getting a Flu Shot

Tony

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Flu Season is Coming; Time to Get Your Flu Shot

No matter where you live, please get your flu shot. I have written repeatedly about the importance of getting that shot.

Tony

Peninsula Regional Medical Center Health Blog

The Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s flu report shows a jump in influenza cases in recent weeks. According to state statistics, the flu caused 11.5 percent of  visits to major Maryland health care providers during the week ending December 29, up from 4 percent the previous week. Maryland flu rates are now considered high, and cases are widespread throughout the state.

The Wicomico County Health Department and the Worcester County Health Department are encouraging residents to get vaccinated against the flu virus and can help you get the shot – call them or click on the links for more. Somerset County has flu clinics scheduled throughout January – go here to see the schedule.

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Senior Supermodel Oleda Baker Recommends Flu Shots

Regular readers know that I feel very strongly about getting a flu shot to kick off flu season. You can read Should I Get a Flu Shot? and also Flu Season Starting Early This Year.

This photo of Oleda was taken last year when she was 77.

This photo of Oleda was taken last year when she was 77.

So, I was particularly gratified when I got this wonderful confirmation from Oleda Baker, former supermodel and breathtaking example of good health and excellent aging. In an interview which will see the light of day tomorrow morning on the blog, she said she was in complete agreement with me, “I have gotten a flu shot every single year since I was 38 yrs old that is 40 years.”

I related to Oleda that when I was teaching journalism at Northwestern University, one of my students wrote a story on seniors getting flu shots. One lady said that she had been getting flu shots for 10 years and had not had the flu in that period nor had she even gotten a cold. I said that I started getting flu shots religiously after that. In fact, I have only contracted one cold in the 20 years that I have been getting vaccinated.

Oleda responded, “I think the shot helps us in more ways than just flu.”

Perhaps they cause our bodies to build antibodies that fight off germs generally. I don’t know. As far as I am concerned flu shots work. I wouldn’t dream of disagreeing with Oleda.

If you would like to learn more about Oleda’s suggestions for beauty, health and anti-aging check her website here.

Tony

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Flu Season Starting Early This Year – Get a Flu Shot

Flu activity continues to increase across the United States. The nation is experiencing an early flu season, the earliest since 2003, with high levels of activity concentrated in the south central and southeastern regions at this time. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) urge you to get a flu vaccine now if you have not done so already this season. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk from flu complications.

Back in October, I wrote about my trip to the doctor for a flu shot and tried to convince you to do likewise.

Now, Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter reports that the U.S. new cases of flu have gone from a few hundred a week to more than a thousand.

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The CDC reports that five children have died from it.

Catching the flu is not fun. Ms. Godman reports that flu is “a highly contagious and potentially deadly respiratory disease. Some years the outbreak is relatively mild, other years it is severe. Deaths range from 3,000 a year to nearly 50,000, and about 200,000 people end up in the hospital each year. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

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How do You Doctor an Aging Body?

Regular readers know that I exercise every day, mostly in the form of riding my bike. In addition to that I eat intelligently, tracking my calories. But what about doctoring? With all the exercise and good eating, surely, one doesn’t need a doctor much outside of annual check ups? But no. At 76 years old, this organic machine I live in needs servicing.

Just as love is a many-splendored thing, this month for me will be a many-doctored thing. I had a dental appointment for teeth-cleaning on Monday. In my check up afterwards, my dentist discovered a small amount of decay just under one of my crowns. So I will be seeing him several times over the coming weeks to have the old crown removed and a new one fitted and constructed. This means about four weeks of dentist visits. Finally, I deal with the arthritis in my hands on a daily basis. I take trace minerals, sometimes use an NSAID ointment and sometimes take non-aspirin painkillers.

This vintage machine was hot stuff when I was young …

This morning instead of getting out on my bike after walking the dog, I walked just over a mile to Northwestern Memorial Hospital to visit a dermatologist. I have had a growth on my face for years and about a month ago the top came off when I ran my electric razor over it shaving. I thought a doctor ought to look at it. He did this morning and decided it needed to come off.
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