Healthcare updates, Nov 5: What to do with the flu

November 5, 2010 by  
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The flu, the flu. What are we to do? Here are the latest updates on the flu.

Podcast: Influenza Round Table: Don’t Get, Don’t Spread
Check out this CDC podcast where Dr. Joe Bresee describes how to keep from getting the seasonal flu and spreading it to others. Some of Dr. Bresee’s tips:

First, if you’re sick, stay home from work or school to avoid being around as many people as possible. Second, we recommend that you cover your mouth to avoid spreading the germs.”

Vaccine Safety Monitoring Ensures Continued Safety,
The flu season is here and so is the new flu vaccine. But scepticism about the flu shots remains despite (or because of?) the last year’s swine flu pandemic. The FDA and the CDC are trying to alleviated people’s concerns about the shots through vaccine safety monitoring programs. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) help in prompt reporting of adverse events related to the vaccines. Results from VAES and VSD from data of the 2009-10 influenza season showed:

More than 90% of the reports after 2009 H1N1 flu vaccination were non-serious (e.g. events that did not involve health consequences or hospitalization, such as a low-grade fever or muscle aches) and the serious reports were similar to reporting patterns for influenza vaccinations during previous influenza seasons.”

Shot shy?
Okay, so don’t like getting shots? You are not alone and it is not something to be embarrassed about. Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC suggests the following alternative:

If you’re worried about shots, there’s a spray that’s fine for people as long as you’re healthy, between the ages of 2 and 49.”

The spray, unfortunately, can’t be used in pregnant women.

Webcast: Pregnant Women and the Upcoming Flu Season
Pregnant during the flu season? The webcast Know What to Do About the Flu explains “the importance of vaccination for pregnant women, including a discussion on vaccine safety and benefits to newborn children.”

A bad case of the flu
Coughs, aches, chills, fatigue, fever, and even vomiting and diarrhea are some of the common symptoms of influenza. Most of us recover from the flu. But bad cases of flu have been reported. According to Dr. Jose Bresee of the CDC:

“People with the following symptoms should call for emergency medical help immediately: signs of breathing or heart problems like chest pain, shortness of breath, bluish or purplish lips; signs of dehydration, like yellowish or leathery skin, decreased urination, or confusion. Sometimes children will have no tears when they cry.”

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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