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Dr. Robert Wesley talks Flu Season

November 17, 2019

I’m Rob Wesley. I’m a family medicine physician with Graves
Gilbert Clinic in Franklin, Kentucky. Flu season is just around the corner and the
question is, how to patients get ready for that? What can they do to prevent the flu? What can they do to treat it if they get it? Everybody has heard about flu shots. The flu shots are against at least three different
strains of the flu and typically nowadays we’re using what’s called a quadrivalent flu
shot, which covers three different flu viruses that are predominant around the world, so
it’s a moving target every year for us to try to keep up with this organism. It’s a scary bug. The biggest myth is, “I got the flu from my
flu shot last year so I don’t want to take it this year.” The majority of flu vaccines that we have
now are actually killed virus vaccines, they cannot infect you. Most people do experience a little bit of
immune response when they take a flu shot and that’s a sign that the vaccine is working. It’s generating an immune response in your
body to certain pieces of that virus, so that if your body encounters it again in the future,
it’s going to be primed and ready to fight it off and so you might get a little headache,
you might get a little bit of a sniffle, and you might feel kind of puny for a day, but
that’s not a sign that you’re actually getting the flu. The flu is not an insignificant illness. We have about 23,000 people die every year
in America from the flu and flu related illnesses, which is staggering when you think about it,
that’s a significant size city that we lose every year. There are simple things that folks can do
to prevent the flu from hand washing, making sure they’re cleaning their shopping carts
when they go out, covering your mouth with your elbow when you cough, cleaning the gas
pumps and using hand sanitizer frequently. That can prevent transmission of the disease
when you’re in the middle of flu season, but also if you’re sick, stay home. The flu has an incubation period of about
seven days where you may be contagious and not showing any symptoms at all, so you may
think that you’re better, but you may still be shedding virus and making other people
sick, so give yourself a break, stay home, get lots of rest, and treat yourself good
so you do get better. That’s one of the most important things I
think I could say particularly with school-age children.

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