The Doctors: Flu Season
“Each year, 5 to 20% of Americans get the flu,” Dr. Travis Stork said, noting that this adds up to more than 100 million workdays and 54 million school days lost. Do you get the flu vaccine? I’ve never done it, but I know plenty of people who wear by it. I didn’t know you can carry the flu for a week before getting sick.
Colds and influenza are viruses, which enter through the body’s respiratory system. While bacteria can replicate on its own, viruses need to latch on to your body to grow and thrive. That’s when your symptoms start, as your body tries to fight off the flu.
Dr. Travis Stork used an animation to explain how the body’s cells recognize and attempt to destroy the virus. He said that after you’ve been infected with a specific strain of flu, or been vaccinated, your body is better equipped to beat it before you get sick again.
The Drs TV: Cold Vs Flu Symptoms
Cold symptoms include sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing, and cough. It can last about a week.
Flu symptoms are things like high fever, aches & pain, extreme exhaustion, and cough. A flu cough is more dry than a cold cough.
If you’re still in the first 48 hours of your flu, some antiviral medications may help to cut down on the length of your illness.
The Doctors: Veritor Flu Test
Doctors can now test for the flu using the BD Veritor system. As Dr. Andrew Ordon demonstrated, your doctor will take a nasal swab, which is then mixed in a chemical solution and tested in the machine. You can ask your doctor about the test, and what it means for your flu diagnosis.
Type A Flu Vs Type B Flu
There are two broad categories of flu you need to know. Type A includes things like Bird Flu and Swine Flu, which constantly mutate and change.
Type B flu has less serious symptoms and fewer mutations. The Doctors said you don’t want to go within five feet of someone you know has the flu.
CDC: 2012 Flu Season
Dr. Anne Schuchat, the US Assistant Surgeon General, joined The Doctors via satellite from the Centers For Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, to talk about this year’s flu season. She said it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine, and I was surprised to learn that flu season doesn’t peak until February and March. I would’ve guessed it was a month or two earlier than that.
Dr. Travis said the flu kills up to 30,000 people annually in the United States. The flu vaccine can prevent illness and death.
CDC: US Avian Flu Threat
There are reports of Avian Flu in China, where the so-called Bird Flu has a 60% mortality rate. Dr. Travis asked Dr. Anne Schuchat about the country’s preparations for Bird Flu. She said they are monitoring the situation and have viruses stockpiled, as well as plans to manage a potential outbreak.
The Drs: Is Flu Vaccine Safe For Pregnant Women?
Dr. Lisa Masterson asked about the safety and importance of the flu vaccine for pregnant women. Dr. Anne Schuchat explained that pregnancy vaccinations are increasing, and she estimates nearly 50% of pregnant women have been vaccinated this year.
It’s not too late for pregnant women or anyone else to get the flu vaccination, which protects a woman and her baby, even for several months after birth. She stressed that the vaccine has an excellent safety record in pregnant women.