Multi-Language Flu Information

24 01 2011

How many times have you been confused by the information (or misinformation) about influenza? Just sorting symptoms, risk factors, vaccination information, and different strains can be a bit of a challenge. Now imagine that you don’t speak the language in which the information is written. Not easy, to say the least.

The CDC’s flu.gov website has a helpful page, “Flu Essentials – What You Need To Know” – with everything you need to know in various languages, including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Arabic, Russian, Tagalog, Korean and Vietnamese.

The page links to information sheets that one can print out, and the info sheets cover topics such as “People with Asthma,” “Emergency Warning Signs,” “Pregnancy,” “10 Ways You Can Stay Healthy at Work,” and more.

Everyone is entitled to make an informed decision when it comes to their health and parents must do so on behalf of their children. If you or someone you know could use this important information in a language other than English, be sure to share this blog with them!

¿Cuántas veces ha sido confundido por la información (o información incorrecta) sobre la influenza? Sólo clasificar los síntomas, factores de riesgo, la información de la vacunación, y las tipos diferentes pueden ser un poco un difícil de entender. Ahora imagine que usted no habla el idioma en que está escrita la información.? No es fácil, por decir lo menos.

El CDC tiene una página web, “Fundamentos de la gripe – Lo que usted necesita saber” – con todo lo que necesita saber en varios idiomas, incluyendo español, francés, alemán, italiano, árabe, ruso, tagalo, coreano y vietnamita.

La página le lleva a las hojas de información que se puede imprimir, y las hojas de información cubren temas tales como “Las personas con asma”, “Señales de Alerta de Emergencia”, “Embarazo”, “10 maneras de cuidar su salud en el trabajo , “y mucho más.

Cada uno tiene derecho a tomar una decisión informada cuando viene a su salud y los padres deben hacerlo en nombre de sus niños. ¡Si usted o alguien que usted sabe podría utilizar esta información importante en un idiomia distinto del inglés, esté seguro de compartir este acoplamiento con éllos!





Don’t Wait – Vaccinate!

20 12 2010

(courtesy of CDC)

This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending flu vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older. Even healthy adults 19 through 24 years of age should get vaccinated.

Life can get pretty hectic sometimes. Whether it’s school, work, or your social life, you probably think you have other, more important things to do than get vaccinated against the flu. Last season, the flu attacked adults 19-24 years of age much more than usual, which resulted in missed classes, missed work, and far worse–trips to the ER, hospitalization, or even death.

Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way for you to protect yourself, and to keep from spreading the flu to friends and family. Get a flu vaccine. One shot or nasal spray will help protect you against the three strains of virus predicted to cause illness this season—including the 2009 H1N1 strain, which is still circulating.

If you think you don’t have time to get vaccinated, think again! It’s easier than ever to get a flu vaccine.  And if you ’re healthy, you can get the nasal spray if you’re afraid of needles! You usually don’t even need a doctor’s appointment. Most pharmacies, drugstores, and supermarkets offer walk-in clinics that are usually very quick and have convenient hours.  In addition, most university clinics offer free or reduced-price flu vaccination for students. But the longer you wait, the longer the lines are likely to be. Flu vaccine is now available in various locations. So don’t wait–vaccinate.

The few minutes it will take you to get a flu vaccine is much shorter than the days you might have to take off from school, work, or both if you get sick with the flu. It takes about two weeks to build immunity against flu, so it’s important to act now in order to be fully protected by the time flu outbreaks begin. By immunizing yourself against flu you’ll help protect your family, friends, classmates, and co-workers, too.

For more information, visit http://www.flu.gov/, http://www.cdc.gov/flu or call 1‐800‐CDC‐INFO (800‐232‐4636).





Pregnant? Protect Baby and You Get a Flu Shot

16 12 2010

(courtesy of CDC)

Your mood can change on a dime. Your feet are swollen, you have heartburn, you can’t sleep, and you can’t stay away from the bathroom for longer than fifteen minutes. A lot of discomforts come with the joy of pregnancy. Adding flu to that could be overwhelming, or much worse. Pregnant women who get the flu are at risk to have serious illness that could harm them or their unborn child. But one step can protect against flu: a flu vaccine.

The risk from flu is greater for pregnant women because pregnancy can reduce the ability of lungs and the immune system to work normally. This can be bad for both you and your baby.

Although pregnant women are about 1% of the U.S. population, they made up 5% of U.S. deaths from 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from April 14 – August 21, 2009. According to a study done during the first month of the outbreak, the rate of hospitalizations for 2009 H1N1 was four times higher in pregnant women than other groups.

While CDC is recommending that everyone get vaccinated against the flu this season, the agency has a special message for pregnant women: “Please don’t pass up this chance to protect yourself and your baby against the flu,” says Dr. Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service and CDC’s Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

“Getting a flu vaccine during pregnancy can reduce the risk of getting the flu while pregnant and after,” says Dr. Schuchat. “And babies younger than six months can get very sick from flu, but are too young to get vaccinated. The best way to protect them is to have their caregivers and close contacts vaccinated.”

“Pregnant women should get flu shots, not the nasal spray vaccine,” says Dr. Schuchat. “The flu shot is given in a single dose, and is safe, effective, and cannot cause the flu.” Schuchat adds that the vaccine can be safely given in all nine months of pregnancy, and is also safe for breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding mothers can get either the nasal spray vaccine or flu shot.

Seasonal flu shots have been given safely to millions of pregnant women over many years. As in previous years, vaccine companies are making plenty of preservative-free flu vaccine as an option for pregnant women and small children. The flu shot (not the nasal spray) is safe for pregnant women during any trimester. Nursing mothers can receive a flu shot or the nasal spray. One shot will last all flu season, even if you get it early in the season.

Usually worse than the common cold, the flu can cause fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and weakness. Some people also have diarrhea and vomiting. If you think you may have the flu, it’s important to call your doctor or nurse right away.

For more information, talk to your doctor or contact CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO or www.cdc.gov.





Fight Flu: Get the Facts

2 12 2010

(courtesy of CDC)

Fewer Than Half of Nurses and other Health Care Workers Get Vaccinated. Influenza is among the most common respiratory illnesses in the United States, infecting millions of people every flu season. Studies going back 30 years to 1976 show that seasonal flu-related deaths have ranged from about 3,000 people to more than  48,000 people. While every flu season differs, people die from flu every year. Since health care workers are on the front line to care for patients with the flu, you are more vulnerable to get sick and spread flu to your patients, colleagues, and family members.

Flu transmission from patients to health care workers, and from health care workers to their families, other patients, and staff members is well documented.1-4   Vaccination remains the single most effective preventive measure available against influenza and can prevent serious illness and death. High rates of vaccination among nurses and health care workers have been linked to improved patient outcomes5, 6, reduced absenteeism7, and influenza infection among staff.  Despite the documented benefits of flu vaccination of nurses and other health care workers, fewer than half of health care professionals receive an influenza vaccine each year. This low coverage jeopardizes the health of high-risk patients that you, as a nurse or health care worker, care for every day.  Influenza outbreaks have been documented in hospital wards, nursing home facilities, intensive care units, and bone marrow transplant units.  Protect yourself, your family, and your patients—get a flu vaccine.

FLU FACTS

FACT:  You cannot get the flu from the influenza vaccine. The flu shot does not contain live viruses, so it is impossible to get influenza from the vaccine, and the nasal spray contains virus strains that are too weakened to cause flu illness. Side effects may occur in some people who get vaccinated, such as mild soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, headache or low-grade fever.  It can take up to two weeks from the time the vaccine is administered to provide immunity against flu. So, during the two weeks after vaccination, people can remain susceptible to influenza infection.  And, while the influenza vaccine does not prevent all influenza illnesses, the vaccine is generally 70-90% effective in adults younger than 65 years of age.

FACT:  Influenza is more than just a nuisance.  Influenza can be a serious and sometimes life-threatening disease. Influenza and its related complications can cause hospitalization and even death.

FACTThe influenza virus is unpredictable.  Flu viruses are constantly changing.  Therefore, a new flu vaccine is made every year to protect against the flu viruses that surveillance indicates will be most common. Because of this, it’s necessary to get a flu vaccination every year, even if you’ve had one or more in the past. The 2010-11 seasonal flu vaccine protects against three viruses, including the H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season. Read the rest of this entry »





Pregnant Women and Infants: Flu Targets

15 11 2010

(courtesy of CDC)

The first and second U.S. deaths from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic were in a 22-month-old child and a 33-year old pregnant woman. These deaths were a sad sign of the toll this pandemic would take on young children and pregnant women. While pregnant women and young children have been considered at “high risk of flu-related complications” for years, 2009 H1N1 flu hit them really hard.

The risk from flu is greater for pregnant women because pregnancy can reduce the ability of the lungs and the immune system to work normally. This can be bad for both mother and baby. According to a study done during the first month of the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, the rate of hospitalizations was four times higher in pregnant women than other groups. Also, although pregnant women are about 1% of the U.S. population, they made up about 5% of U.S. deaths from 2009 H1N1 reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from April 14 – August 21, 2009.

Young children, whose immune systems are still developing, are also at-risk for flu-related complications. Each year about 100 flu-related deaths in children are thought to occur in the U.S. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, more than 300 deaths in children were reported to CDC. CDC believes that many more deaths in children may have gone unrecognized or unreported.

Experts think the 2009 H1N1 virus will be around again this flu season. In fact, one of the three parts of this season’s flu vaccine will protect against the 2009 H1N1 virus. While CDC is now encouraging everyone six months and older to get vaccinated against the flu, there is a special message for pregnant women and parents: “Don’t pass up this easy way to protect yourself and your children against the flu,” says Dr. Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service and CDC Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

“Getting a flu vaccine during pregnancy can reduce the risk of getting the flu while pregnant and after,” says Dr. Schuchat. “And babies younger than six months can get very sick from flu, but are too young to get vaccinated. The best way to protect them is to have their caregivers and close contacts vaccinated.”

Seasonal flu shots have been given safely to millions of pregnant women and children over many years.  Though there is no proof that thimerosal (a preservative) is harmful to a pregnant woman, their babies, or young children, some worry about it. So, as before, vaccine companies are making plenty of preservative-free flu vaccine as an option for pregnant women and small children.

Usually worse than the common cold, the flu can cause fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and weakness. Some people also have diarrhea and vomiting. Pregnant women and parents of children younger than two years of age should call their doctor or nurse right away if they, or their children, become sick. A doctor can prescribe flu antiviral drugs.

Vaccination continues to be the best protection. Get yourself—and all of your children 6 months of age and older—vaccinated against the flu to keep all family members healthy this flu season. One shot will last all flu season, even if you get it early in the season.

For more information, talk to your doctor or contact CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO or www.cdc.gov.





Chronic health condition? Get a flu shot!

8 11 2010

(courtesy of CDC)

If you are one of the millions of Americans with a long-term health condition like asthma, diabetes, stroke, heart or lung disease, this important information about flu applies to you. When combined with your existing health condition, the flu increases your risk of becoming seriously sick, which could result in an unexpected and expensive trip to the hospital—or even death.

“We have known for years that flu is a serious disease, especially for people with certain chronic health conditions,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service and CDC’s Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

These health conditions include asthma (even if controlled by medication), lung disease, heart disease, neurologic conditions (like stroke and other conditions related to the nervous system, brain or spinal cord), blood disorders, endocrine disorders (like diabetes, both type 1 and type 2), kidney disorders, liver disorders or weakened immune systems.

The burden of flu on people with these conditions was demonstrated last flu season, as the world faced its first flu pandemic in more than 40 years. Most of the deaths from 2009 H1N1 were in people who had at least one health condition. People with long-term health conditions also were more likely to be hospitalized. CDC estimates that nearly 60 percent of children and more than 85 percent of adults hospitalized with 2009 H1N1 had one or more long-term health conditions or were pregnant.

Of those admitted to the hospital with 2009 H1N1 illness, asthma was the most common long-term health condition followed by diabetes, chronic cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pregnancy, neurological disorders (including stroke or seizure disorders in adults), and neuromuscular disorders. People who were morbidly obese (extremely overweight) also appeared to be at higher risk for severe 2009 H1N1 in some studies.

Experts expect that 2009 H1N1 will be back next season along with other, regular flu viruses. The message is clear: people with long-term health conditions should take action to protect themselves against the flu by getting a flu vaccine. This season’s vaccine will protect against 2009 H1N1 and two other flu viruses. Safe, reliable flu vaccines have been made for decades, and you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine.

Millions of Americans are impacted by these conditions, although many people don’t know that they have a long-term health condition. For example, diabetes impacts an estimated 23.6 million Americans, but 5.7 million people (24 percent of those who have the disease in the United States) don’t even know they have it. Heart disease affects an estimated 26.6 million Americans. And asthma affects 23.4 million Americans. Ask your doctor whether you have a health condition that makes you more vulnerable to flu. If you do, be sure you get a flu vaccine.

Symptoms of flu include fever (though not everyone with flu will have a fever), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.

Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through the coughing, sneezing, or talking of someone with the flu. Flu viruses may also spread when people touch something with flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose. Many other viruses spread these ways too.

For more information, visit www.flu.gov, www.cdc.gov/flu, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).





Vote and Vax

1 11 2010

Vote & Vax strongly urges public health and emergency management agencies to pilot immunization stations at polling places in their communities this Election Day. Flu season is almost here and we all have a stake in making sure that as many Americans as possible have a chance to be vaccinated.

While most flu sufferers recover in a couple weeks with no problems, a flu vaccination can prevent severe complications like pneumonia or death in vulnerable populations – such as the very young, the elderly, and those with other serious medical conditions.

Vote & Vax is also a great exercise in emergency preparedness. Improving your agency’s skill in immunizing potentially large numbers of people at community venues helps build your capacity to better respond to emergencies or disasters in the future.

Interested in protecting and preparing your community for flu season?

Participating in Vote & Vax is easy and a great opportunity to increase your community’s awareness of the importance and role of public health providers. Register your agency now and receive a free Election Day event kit — but only while supplies last!

Find out more at www.voteandvax.org or watch our story on YouTube!

Doug Shenson, M.D.
Program Director
Vote & Vax