Flu season is here, and right
now we have new flu numbers for Connecticut. Check it out: the state
Department of Public Health says it’s confirmed 23 cases of the flu since
August 8th. People even being hospitalized. So what can you do right now to get ready? Welcome Dr. Virginia Bieluch, chief of
infectious diseases at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. Good morning to you.
Good morning. Here we go. We always talk about this and you know we were sort of
stunned. Twenty-three cases so far. You say not a big deal we’re off to a running start
but it’s kind of the same as last year. Yeah looking at the graphs from the state
Health Department website we’re pretty much where we were
last year. So people are seeing this and they’re thinking, ‘Oh that’s right I’ve
got to get my flu shot.” It’s never too late to get your flu shot. Obviously earlier is better but if you haven’t gotten it yet no panic you can
still go get a flu shot right? Absolutely. We have yet to hit the height of the flu
season and you should be thinking of getting your influenza vaccination now.
And when is the height is that is it sort of into the New Year?
Well the height is always hard to predict often January, February are the time we
see most cases, but it can be as early as December or even earlier. Now what is the
situation this year with the nasal spray? I know that the headline last
year was that last year that we were recommending it’s not necessarily as
effective. Is it still an option? CDC does not recommend use of the
nasal spray this year again because of decreased effectiveness against the
viruses in the flu strain. So roll up that sleeve get it me arm and it’s no
big deal we got to hear at work every year. It’s so helpful because
it gets cold here, everybody’s indoors. It becomes this sort of Petri dish where
you could pass all these things to each other. So, it’s readily available at
this point isn’t it?
Absolutely you can get influenza vaccine from your
physician. Pharmacies have it. Many workplaces offer it and we do highly
recommend influenza vaccine. For people that have not – lucky you if you haven’t had the flu – you sure know when you get it: The cold, the flu are two totally
different things. The flu takes you down it can even be deadly, can’t it? Absolutely. It can be a little difficult in some people to tell the flu from a common cold. But influenza is usually accompanied by headache, extreme tiredness, body aches, coughs. If you’ve ever had the flu you won’t forget it. You never want to get
it again. Absolutely Who is most at risk by the way? The very young, older
individuals, people with heart and lung conditions, anyone whose immune system
does not work fully are most at risk for influenza. But even healthy people can
get quite sick with influenza. And I know we’ve just stumbled into the flu season
for this year, but how much longer do we have? I think we’ve got a few months
ahead of us. Okay okay so it probably almost into the spring, right? In recent years it’s gone into the spring. Testing for the flu is much more widely
available these days. There are easy to perform tests. So it’s actually done
quite commonly and for that reason we pick up cases earlier on in the year and
we pick them up going out into the spring months, too. So let’s get a head of it together.
Thank you so much Dr. Virginia Bieluch. Hopefully we have some people now
heading out to go get their flu shot I hope so.