Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cold and Flu Season

Use common sense to help prevent the spread of germs.

1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
2. Wash your hands often. Especially after you cough or sneeze. 
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Limit touching public objects. Germs spread this way. Use alcohol based hand sanitizers. They are easy to carry.
4. Avoid close contact with people presenting with cough and runny nose. 
5. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, avoid contact with other people. Seek medical help.

Learn to recognize flu-like symptoms:
• stomache cramps, vomiting
• loose stools 
• fever >99.0
• headache
• general malaise
• cough
• runny nose
• muscle aches
• sore throat

Lastly, YOU CANNOT GET THE FLU FROM THE FLU VACCINE.  Those who believe this fallacy are completely misinformed. This fallacy prevents people from getting vaccinated. The virus in the vaccine is attenuated or killed. Your body will develop antibodies against these particular virus particles used in the vaccines.  The virus in the vaccine is not strong enough to cause illness. Educate yourself in the factual not "what your neighbor or friend of your second cousin who lives half way across the nation". Facts will never steer you wrong. If you receive your flu shot between September and December, you are protected from the current flu strain. Flu strains change their protein coats. This is why it is necessary to get the vaccine yearly. The current vaccine will provide protection against 2 flu strains.

Post-Vaccine Symptoms: 
Soreness at the vaccination site. Body aches and a low-grade fever. This is not the flu.  They are post-vaccine side effects. These mild symptoms are what some people may mistake as "getting sick with the flu after getting the flu shot."

Pneumonia is different from the flu. The flu is caused by a virus and pneumonia by bacteria, fungi and viruses. The vaccine targets bacterial pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumonia can be found in the upper respiratory tract and may cause a spectrum of infections including but not limited to, pneumonia i.e. lung infection, ear infections and meningitis. The vaccine provides protection for up to five years. However, if you are high risk you may need to be re-vaccinated every 2 years. Your physician will determine your vaccine schedule. 

Post-vaccine side effects are generally mild and short in duration. Redness at the injection site, drowsiness, decreased appetite and low grade temp.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

source:  Center for Disease Control