Tag Archives: flu shot

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Thursday: Sunny. High 31. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy skies this evening will become overcast overnight. Low 26. Winds light and variable.

EVENT OF THE DAY: D.B. Rielly at Winegasm 

Come join award-winning singer/songwriter D.B. Rielly at Winegasm at 9 p.m., where he will perform a wide-ranging collection of Americana music, spanning several genres including roots, blues, and country. Winegasm is located at 31-86 37th Street in Astoria. Admission is free, for more information visit www.dbrielly.com.

Con Edison sets new winter records for gas, electric usage

The extreme cold in recent days has led to a new winter one-day record for national gas and electric service use by Con Edison customers. Read more: CBS New York

NYC urging parents to get flu shots for children

New York City health officials are urging locals to get flu shots, especially for their young children. The Health Department said vaccination levels are rising but remain below the goals set by the federal government. Read more: Fox New York

Cantor may launch charter school probe against de Blasio

Mayor de Blasio’s anti-charter school pronouncements could get him investigated by Congress before he even moves into Gracie Mansion. Read more: New York Post

MetroCard machines randomly dispensing super bowl-themed cards 

MetroCard machines are now randomly dispensing Super Bowl-themed cards as a way to promote the championship game at MetLife Stadium next month. Read more: NBC New York

Dennis Rodman apologizes for comments in North Korea, admits drinking

Dennis Rodman apologized Thursday for comments about captive American missionary Kenneth Bae in an interview with CNN. Read more: AP

 

Flu demands respect


| editorial@queenscourier.com


BY SCOTT BREIDBART, M.D.

In the universe of infectious diseases, influenza, or flu, doesn’t usually gather interest. Ebola kills almost all infected people, isn’t in the United States, and had a best seller written about it. Tuberculosis, or consumption, is worldwide, continuously threatens to become immune to all treatments, and has killed many famous people, from artists to politicians. Polio kills and paralyzes, launched the March of Dimes, and its vaccine – along with that of smallpox – is one of the great triumphs of medicine.

But flu? Flu doesn’t seem to command the same level of fear and loathing. It’s common – everyone gets it at one time or another. People usually feel miserable for a week, and unless they are old, young, immune suppressed, or very unlucky, recover with nothing worse than the ire of the co-workers they spread it to.

The flu season starts in the fall and lasts into the spring, sort of like the hockey season, and like hockey, some seasons start later and there are good years and bad years. The experts cannot predict whether the season will start early, last a long time, or kill more people than usual.

So, while it may not win a Golden Globe for Worst Infectious Disease, you still DO NOT want to get it. The flu will make you feel rotten. If you are old, young, or have a poor immune system, it can kill you. If you spread it to a friend, neighbor or colleague who is fighting cancer, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or who had a transplant, it can pose a highly serious threat to their health, and they may de-friend you on Facebook.

So how can you avoid the flu?

Get a flu vaccine. Stay away from sick people or people who are complaining that they just feel achy and feverish. Get a flu vaccine. Don’t touch them, don’t shake their hands, and don’t let them cough on you. Get a flu vaccine. Wash your hands. Get a flu vaccine. And, of course, always check with your doctor if you get it (even after taking all these precautions).

This year’s flu vaccine is about 60 percent effective. That is very good. Statins don’t reduce the death from heart disease by 60 percent. Even seat belts don’t reduce crash related injuries by 60 percent.

Japan mandated flu vaccine for school children from 1962 to 1987 and 40,000 deaths a year were prevented! After the vaccination of school children was stopped, deaths from flu in Japan rose.

The flu vaccine is recommended for just about everyone over the age of six months. Get a flu vaccine. And plead (if you must) with your neighbors and friends to get a flu vaccine if they haven’t already gotten one. That’s what I’m doing.

Dr. Breidbart is Chief Medical Offi cer for Empire BlueCross BlueShield, New York’s largest health insurer, insuring nearly 6 million New Yorkers

Street Talk: Did you get a flu shot?


| editorial@queenscourier.com

street talk

BY MAGGIE HAYES AND MELISSA CHAN

Yes, because I work in a hospital and always end up getting one.
Michael Caponsacco 


No, I don’t like shots.
Karen Skala


No. But, to be honest, I should get one. I just don’t like needles.
Geovanny Nolasco 


No, because I don’t have health insurance.
Michael Mandel


Yes, I got my flu shot. At my age, it’s important. I could conk out.
Sue Parks 


No, but I will get one. It’s crazy this year. I have to find someone to watch my kids so I can go get one.
Angela Hernandez 


Yes, I get them from my doctor every year.
Rhys Ritter


Yes, I did. I got it ahead of time in September.
Linda Leshnick 

Flu Q&A: Symptoms and treatment


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy CDC/Judy Schmidt

Not sure if that cough you’re battling is the flu or just your average cold? Here are a few symptoms that might indicate you’re fighting the flu.

Symptoms of the flu can include the sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches, as well as a cough or sore throat. These symptoms are often similar to cold symptoms, but come on more swiftly and are more pronounced.

Although most people will usually recover from flu without complications, the virus poses a more serious risk for individuals younger than age two, those over 50, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions.

Should you get a flu shot?

  • The State Health Department recommends that everyone six months of age or older receive a flu vaccination.
  • Children under six months cannot get a flu vaccination. Since the flu virus can be transmitted through coughing or sneezing, family members and people who regularly come in contact with young children or individuals at high risk for the disease get vaccinated against influenza.
  • Individuals at high risk for the flu include people who have a chronic medical condition, in addition to the very young and the very old. Also, all health care workers should be vaccinated against influenza and other communicable disease to protect their health and the health of their patients.
  • Most health insurance plans cover flu vaccines. If you don’t have health insurance, don’t panic. Individuals and families without health insurance should check with their county health department to determine if local clinics will be held to provide free vaccinations. Pharmacists are also able to give flu shots and pharmacies may be an easy and convenient place to receive a flu vaccination.

What to do if you’ve been exposed.

  • If you think you have been exposed to someone infected with the flu or a person experiencing flu symptoms, consult with your health care provider immediately to determine whether prescription antiviral drugs may be helpful.
  • Treatment with prescription antiviral medications can sometimes lessen the effects of influenza, if the treatment is started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. Antibiotics are not effective against influenza.
  • Although getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent getting influenza, you can also reduce your risk by washing your hands regularly and disinfecting surfaces, such as desktops and telephones, that are touched frequently.
  • Eating healthy foods, getting enough rest and exercising regularly can also help protect against influenza and the common cold.
  • If you do experience symptoms or become ill, it is important to limit your opportunity to expose other people by staying home while ill and practicing good cough etiquette, such as coughing into your elbow instead of your hands.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Flu outbreak felt in Queens as Cuomo declares public health emergency


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

CDC/Photo by Jim Gathany

Two days after Christmas, Diane K. woke up with a bought of the flu. The 66-year-old Bayside resident, who preferred her last name not be used, fought off the viral infection’s high fever and aches over the next few days with Tamiflu and rest. But when it was announced that this season’s flu had reached epidemic proportions, Diane decided she didn’t want to take another chance.

“I’m usually very healthy,” she said. “I don’t get sick, but with the epidemic — I’m the only person I know who hasn’t gotten the flu shot yet.”

Diane called several local pharmacies, many of which had run out of the vaccine in the wake of the epidemic, before running to the Rite Aid on Bell Boulevard for the high-dose version of the shot.

In response to the early and rapid spread of this year’s flu season, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a public health emergency for all of New York State. The governor also issued an executive order which permits pharmacists to administer flu vaccinations to patients between the ages of six months and 18 years of age, suspending for the next 30 days the State Education Law that limits the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizing agents to those older than 18.

So far this season, 19,128 cases of the flu have been reported in New York, over four times the number of cases reported last year. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) stated that as of January 5, 2,884 patients were hospitalized with the flu.

Two children in New York State and 18 children across the United States have died as a result of this year’s seasonal flu.

On January 10, Governor  Cuomo gets a flu shot to encourage all New Yorkers to guard against a bad influenza season. (Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo’s flickr)

“We are experiencing the worst flu season since at least 2009, and influenza activity in New York State is widespread, with cases reported in all 57 counties and all five boroughs of New York City,” Cuomo said. “Therefore, I have directed my administration, the State Health Department and others to marshal all needed resources to address this public health emergency and remove all barriers to ensure that all New Yorkers — children and adults alike — have access to critically needed flu vaccines.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tested this year’s known influenza viruses against the three viruses included in the 2012-2013 vaccine. To date, all of the influenza A (H1N1) and influenza A (H3N2) viruses that have been tested match the vaccine and approximately 69 percent of the known influenza B viruses match the vaccine.

According to the CDC, the flu has reached epidemic status, causing 7.3 percent of deaths last week. The CDC’s epidemic threshold is marked at 7.2 percent.

Every region of the United States — excluding the Southwest and California — registered a spike in the number of cases of the flu over the past week.

The CDC said that flu-associated deaths each season range from 3,000 people to about 49,000 people. Those at increased risk for serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.

The CDC cautions those hoping to obtain the flu vaccine that the coveted shot may be difficult to find. Pharmacies have reported an increase in the number of people looking to get vaccinated, and contacting more than one provider may be a necessary part of the search.

A pharmacy staff member at the CVS on Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria said they ran out of the flu shot several days ago and had just been restocked today.

“We have them in stock now but now a lot people are coming in to get them,” said the pharmacy staff member, who estimated they would be out of the vaccine again by the end of the day.

 

RECOMMENDED LINKS

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with a chance of rain. Fog early. High of 63. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph shifting to the NNW in the afternoon. Chance of rain 30%. Monday Night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 36. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Double Life exhibition

SculptureCenter in Long Island City is pleased to present the exhibition Double Life, which brings together a group of artists that share a performance-based approach to sculpture. Common strategies include inhabiting the physical site of exhibition, leaving indexical marks on images of their own making, and re-contextualizing or re-animating various objects, images and readymades. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Flu shot supply dwindling as New York faces public health emergency

With the flu epidemic hitting the Tri-State Area hard, many pharmacies have begun to run out of flu shot supplies. Read more: CBS New York

Bus strike threat looms over NYC schools

A continuing dispute over job protections for New York City school bus drivers means the threat of a strike is still looming, potentially disrupting transportation for about 152,000 students as soon as this week. Read more: NBC New York

Flushing apartment building fire sends one person to hospital

According to the FDNY, the fire started in a bathroom ceiling fan on the top floor of a seven-story building at 42-02 Kissena Boulevard shortly after 10 p.m. Read more: NY1

Weekend bird hits force 2 jets to return to JFK

Authorities say bird strikes forced two planes to return to Kennedy Airport shortly after takeoff over the weekend. Read more: Fox New York

Rare large parcel of property near Citi Field hits the market

Property near Citi Field is hotter than ever right now with proposals for a state-of-the-art new mall and a $300 million Major League Soccer stadium to be constructed nearby. Read more: New York Daily News

Life after Sandy: Businesses still waiting for relief in the Rockaways

Despite all the fund raising and promises of recovery, when it comes to getting small businesses in Queens up and running after Sandy, the federal government has approved 37 loans for the entire borough, while the city has given out only 28. In the Rockaways, where much of the area was without heat and power for weeks after the storm, it’s given 9 loans. Read more: WYNC

‘Argo” scores sweet Golden Globe victory with two top awards

Iran hostage drama “Argo” scored a sweet double victory at the Golden Globe awards on Sunday, winning best movie drama – the night’s top prize – and best director for Ben Affleck on a night that left front-runner “Lincoln” with just one trophy. Read more: Reuters