Articles, Blog

Monmouth in Focus: Flu Season

December 25, 2019


Hello and welcome to Monmouth in Focus, a program about the services and functions of Monmouth County government. I’m Cynthia Scott, your host for Monmouth in Focus, and joining me today is Freeholder Sue Kylie, who is the liaison to the Monmouth County Department of Health, as well as the Public Health Nurse Supervisor Jeryl Krautle. Thank you so
much for joining us today here on Monmouth in Focus. It is wintertime, so
along with winter comes flu season, unfortunately. So let’s start with you,
Sue, how important is it for people to get their flu shots this time of year,
and is it too late?
-Yeah well, first of all it’s very important to get a flu
shot if you don’t want the flu, and I’ve had it in the past, I think
everybody that thinks about the flu associates it with chills and fever and
bed and hot tea, you don’t want to go through that if you don’t have. So
it’s very important to get your flu shot, and it’s never too late to get it either.
-It’s never too late to get it, and what are some of the recommendations for
getting vaccinated?
-So the CDC recommends that anyone six months and older is
eligible and should have a flu shot and in particular, you know, pregnant moms,
senior citizens, anyone that might have compromised health should absolutely get a flu shot, and you can get them–you should get them before the end of
October, but you can get them right up until January. As long as the flu is
circulating, you’re eligible and you should get a flu shot.
-And they’re very accessible, it’s very easy to get it. I mean obviously your doctor carries it, but if
you can’t make it to your doctor, the local pharmacies usually have it. Some
places of work usually have a day where you’re giving the flu shot, so it is easy
to get. But let’s talk a little bit about the differences, Jeryl, between the common cold and the flu or just feeling sick in general.
-Big difference in the flu and the cold. The cold kind of comes on slowly. You get a
stuffy nose, you may get a little bit achey. The flu is severe. It comes on
suddenly, you’ll see a high fever, headache, severe body aches and you are
laid up for several days, so it’s important to recognize the difference in
these symptoms.
-Right, and like you said, high fever, the chills, the sweats, you’re cold, you’re hot, you can’t get out of bed, you can’t
eat, you really can’t move. I guess that’s when you kind of know you got the flu.
And the other thing is, what types– we talk about vaccines, and are they
effective, what’s the strain, are there different types of vaccines out there?
-There are, there a variety of different vaccines out there. In the last year, the
Centers for Disease Control has worked with their manufacturers, and they’ve
created vaccines that are now without eggs. Significant amount of people had
egg allergies, so now they’re eligible as well for a flu shot. There’s quadrivalent vaccine, which is the 2 A strains and the 2 B strains, and
most of the vaccines are now made up with that. And they’ve also reintroduced
flu mist with it which is the nasal spray.
-Okay, so they stopped doing that
and now they’re doing that again? They’ve re-introduced it, yes.
-Okay, I get–when
you say they were re-introduced it, was it not effective enough last time, or…?
-No, they had decided that it wasn’t effective enough. So it was
re-introduced this year. So when it comes to the flu, obviously
the flu shot’s a great way to protect yourself although it’s not 100% proof,
because in a way sometimes, I hate to say it like this, but it is a guessing game
because it’s tough to find out what strain is out there every year, correct?
-Yes. They actually go by the southern hemisphere and they had redone the vaccine this year. Did take a little longer to come out. They were trying to
make a closer match. But even if it’s not an exact match, you still want to get
your flu shot. It still lessens the symptoms, prevents a lot of the
hospitalizations that we see with the flu.
-Aside from getting the flu shot,
what are some other ways to protect yourself from getting sick, getting the
flu?
-I can answer that. That part I know. It’s important that you avoid people that
are sick, and if you’re sick yourself that you’re not, you know, playing the
hero and saying I can go into work now and I’ll be fine, because what you’re
doing is infecting other people and that’s the last thing we want to see
happen. I have grandchildren that go into school and they come home and
they don’t feel well and it’s better to keep them home a day if you think
they’re coming down to send them back in.
-And the flu spreads very fast. I remember a few years ago when, you know, you would see on
the news the people who would take flights and they’d be wearing the masks,
not just on the airplanes but all over the airports. So yeah, it’s scary out
there. I mean there are fatalities as a result of the flu every
year, you hear it.
-Well and I hear the grandkids coming in talking about all
the kids that are out of school, you know, this is how many classmates we had
today and this is how many we had yesterday, because the kids get it and
they’re smart enough to stay home until they recover.
-And it’s important to tell the kids to, you know, kids are coughing all over the place. Right? They put their hands on things, sometimes they forget to wash
their hands, so you know, cough on your sleeve, you know, just take those certain
types of precautions if you can.
-Jeryl, I remember learning in nursing school
that the most critical, most important thing you can do to not spread infection
is hand washing. Soap and water. And that has not changed. That’s the most important thing we can be doing often.
-And again, the symptoms
of the flu that differ from the cold is, it comes on right away. I guess that’s a
big tell sign, because you know when you’re getting it a cold, you’re like, my throat’s a
little raspy and I’m not feeling so great and maybe the next day you’ll wake up
better maybe the next day you’ll have a stuffy nose. With the flu, it comes on
full force.
-It’s a severe onset. You’re got the fever, you’re achey. More with the cold, you see more of the runny nose, the sore throat. The flu is
really the achiness, the high fever, the headache.
-Now, can the cold turn into the flu?
-It’s a different virus. -Different virus. And how about the flu
vaccine? I know the first thing that people worry about is, oh am I going to get the side effects of being sick from the flu? Am I not going to feel well? Is it, you know, do the benefits outweigh the pros outweigh the cons? Do the cons
outweigh the pros?
-Well, Freeholder Kylie just got her flu shot.
-She looks great!
-Jeryl actually gave me my flu shot and she did a fantastic job. My arm was a
little sore at the end of the day, but that was it. You know, I had no
symptoms, I was absolutely fine and now I know I’m protected for the season.
-So any reverse reactions maybe–
-Might get achey, sore, but again it’s not going to be severe. You do not get the flu from the
vaccine. Any last advice that you would want to give the viewers, Jeryl?
-Really to stay home if you’re sick, wash your hands frequently, and get
a flu vaccine, it’s never too late. Yeah, and like you said Sue, very important that if your kids come home and they don’t feel well, keep them home, because
you certainly don’t want any sort of flu outbreak at schools or anything
like that. You want to protect your kids, you want to protect yourself as much as
you possibly can this flu season and throughout the year.
Wouldn’t we say that, you hear about people getting the flu up until
April, when does the season officially end?
-The issue what the question is
the this season doesn’t end the same way it did. The different strains really run
a different season. We see flu as early as September and as late as April.
-Alright, thank you both so much for joining us today and lots of insightful
information there, great information and let’s hope that we have a healthy–I
don’t want to say flu season, but 2020 season.
-And getting your flu shots will help. -Getting your flu shots and being flu free this season. Thank you so much ladies and that’s all
the time we have for this segment of Monmouth in Focus. Of course for more
information you can go to www.visitmonmouth.com I’m Cynthia Scott

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