Flu Vaccine Brings About Healthy Habits for North
Young People + Flu - Flu Vaccine
= Very cautious young people
We have all been reading it in
the newspapers, and seeing it on the news. There is a lack of flu vaccines.
According to the news and the Centers
for Disease Control, the small amount of vaccines available can only
be given to people 65 and older, babies 6- 23 months, health care workers,
and pregnant women. But what happens to the millions of Americans that
fall between those cracks? What happens to the 22 year-old college student
with no chronic illness, but has to go to work and school? Aren’t
they at just as much risk as anyone else? And what about the people they
pass the infection to?
The truth about the vaccine
On October 5, 2004, the Center
for Disease Control was notified by the Chiron corporation that none of
its influenza vaccine (Fluvirin) would be distributed. The Medicines and
Healthcare Products Regulatory agency (MHRA) in the United Kingdom where
Chiron’s Fluvirin vaccine is produced, has suspended the company’s
license to manufacture Fluvirin vaccine in its Liverpool facility for
3 months. This action prevented the release of the vaccine for the flu
season. The action drastically reduced the order by one half of the expected
supply of the flu shot. It is now said that about 55 million flu vaccines
will be available in the United States this season. There is also another
vaccine that is inserted through the nasal passage—yet there will
only be 1 million doses of that vaccine available.
The CDC has identified certain groups to be vaccinated for the 2004-05
flu season. The following people are allowed to be vaccinated: all children
aged 6-23 months, adults aged 65 years or older, persons aged 2-64 years
with underlying chronic medical conditions, all women who will be pregnant
during the flu season, residents of nursing homes and long term care facilities,
children 6 months to 18 years old with chronic aspirin therapy, and health-care
workers with direct patient care. The CDC has also asked that all facilities
administering the flu shot contact them if any dosages are left over.
At that point, the vaccine will be administered to people ages 2-60 with
chronic illnesses such as asthma and heart disease.
The people at risk
Public places are crawling with all types of germs and
bacteria. The one place that some may call home, that has an extensive
amount of germs is the average college dorm. “College students are
all about exploring new things, and people. They put things [that should
not be there] in their mouth, and do not have healthy eating or sleeping
patterns,” says Mim Tracey, Registered Nurse of the Infection Control/Risk
Management department of the Adirondack Medical Center. According to a
recent study from the CBS news staff college students have a 70 percent
risk of contracting the flu than the average person that just goes to
work, and returns home.
Don't let this happen to you
Last flu season, almost all college campuses in the United States offered
flu shots to students and the number of students missing classes due to
illness was at a low. “Students are at risk because most of them do
not dress properly. Then they go to class coughing [without covering their
mouths] and spread their germs,” explains Tracey. So by the end of
one class session at least three people would have encountered a strand
of the flu, and it is then up to their bodies to fight it off. However,
your body probably wont fight it off, and instead you'll pass it on to five
other people. Then, before you know it, there is a college campus filled
with sick, flu-passing students.
“The North Country
is at a high risk right now, and the only thing we can do is be more careful,
and healthy,” says Tracey. But don’t worry too much. For those
of you that really think the flu is out to get you, there is another solution
to the flu shot, the flu mist (nasal spray). This alternative to the shot
is available to anyone between the ages of 5-49 years old. The flu mist
is a “weakened" form of the flu virus, and has proven to be effective
in protecting people against the flu. Only a limited number of flu mist
vaccines will be available, so contact your local physician to see if you
suggests that the people who do not meet the criteria to receive the vaccine
need to be extra careful during the flu season. “It is horrible
that college students can't receive the vaccine, but it just means you
have to be more cautious,” says Tracey.
Overall we need to try to maintain a healthy immune system to help fight
against the flu and all those other diseases lurking in the air. So
here are a few points to keep yourself flu-free:
Wash your hands often. The most common way to catch the
flu is to touch your eyes, mouth, or nose with germ infested hands. So
keep your hands clean and away from your face. Also, it takes approximately
15-20 seconds to thoroughly clean your hands—the same time it takes
to sing the happy birthday song twice. So sing happy birthday and wash
thoroughly. If you are unable to wash your hands as often as you would
like, alcohol based hand wipes or hand sanitizers also work well.
Stay away from others that are sick, or if you are sick
yourself, keep your distance until you are over the flu.
Keep those germs to yourself. If you are really interested
in preventing the spread of the flu, doctors advise that you stay home
from public places if you are sick. Also, cover your mouth and nose with
a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent the person next to
you from getting the bug.
Keep in mind that you can still spread germs up to 7 days after getting
sick. The best advice that any physician can render is to follow the points
If you are still worried about not having some type of medical method
to prevent the flu, there are several substances that can be used to keep
the flu away in your local health store. Heather Cleveland, health specialist
at Healthy Living Natural Foods in Vermont, says, “Vitamin C, Cayenne
pepper, and garlic are all antioxidants to help fight the flu. It takes
about a month to fully fight off the illness, but if they are taken as
soon as the person feels sick, it can knock the flu or cold right out.”
you get the flu shot? Tell us about it!
is the flu?
Influenza, or the flu, is an illness that affects the entire body, including
the lungs. The flu is caused by a virus that spreads from person to person.
The illness can be mild, like a bad cold, or can be extreme and even lead
of the flu
It is possible to have the flu and not even be aware of it. Here are some
of the more obvious symptoms that usually indicate the flu.
(a tepmerature higher than 98.6)
- Low energy, weakness, exhasution
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
symptoms which aren’t as common as the others are:
- Upset stomach