Brenda Schulte, RN works with Infection Control at the Kansas Heart Hospital and she provided Newsbeat some helpful insights and recommendations concerning this upcoming flu season.
Brenda: “Flu season can begin as early as October, peak in January or February and last into May.”
Newsbeat: “Who should get flu shots?”
Brenda: “The Centers for Disease Control or CDC recommends the flu shot for any healthy individual who is at least six months of age.”
Newsbeat: “Are there individuals who are more susceptible to complications of the flu?”
Brenda: “Yes, there are. People who are at high risk for developing pneumonia from the flu include people with asthma, diabetes, chronic lung diseases like COPD, pregnant women, people greater than 65 years of age and individuals with a compromised immune system.”
Newsbeat: “When should an individual get vaccinated?”
Brenda: “Because the flu season is somewhat unpredictable it is best to get your flu shot now or in early October. It takes about two weeks for your body to develop antibodies and confirm immunity against the flu virus”
Newsbeat: “Why does an individual require a flu shot every year?”
Brenda: “Because the type of viruses which cause the yearly or seasonal flu may change from year to year and even if the viruses haven’t changed from the year before it is a good idea to get a flu shot in order to boost your antibodies against the flu viruses.”
Brenda: “In attempting to prevent the flu, you should practice good personal hygiene which includes hand washing. You should avoid contact with individuals, if possible, experiencing active flu-like symptoms. If you get the flu, you should stay at home, rest and, if your doctor recommends it, you might take Tamiflu or Relenza which are anti-viral medicines and are most effective if administered within two days of getting sick.”
Newsbeat: “What are you recommending for KHH employees?”
Brenda: “We recommend all employees have a flu shot unless they are allergic to egg products. As healthcare providers we want to make certain that our staff remain as “flu-free” as possible.”
Newsbeat: “Have you had your flu shot, Brenda?
Brenda: “Not yet, but I’ll be getting it shortly!”
Flu shots are generally available at your physician’s office and, for KHH employees, they can be obtained at the hospital as well.
Click here to read more on Seasonal Influenza from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.