Flu Vaccines Myths Vs Facts and Your Pharmacist

The flu is a serious disease that could be deadly in some cases if the symptoms are not effectively managed. No two flu seasons are the same. Every year the is a mutation in the flu virus thus, it is pertinent for us to get a flu shot yearly during the flu season to avoid getting the flu.

In the United States the flu season starts from early October-May. Anyone can be infected by the flu, not only the immunocompromised. Estimate from the CDC website states, “flu-related hospitalizations since 2010 ranged from 140,000 to 710,000, while flu-related deaths are estimated to have ranged from 12,000 to 56,000”. This number will increase if individuals are not taking Flu vaccines during the flu seasons.

How can you protect yourself from getting the flu?

The only way to protect yourself against the flu is to get the flu vaccine every year as soon as they become available during the flu season  

You can go to your local pharmacy to get a flu shot, no need scheduling an appointment with your physician.

Common and not serious side effects with taking a flu vaccine are :

  •       Nausea
  •       Aches
  •       Redness, swelling and soreness at site of injection.

Serious and less common side effects are:

  •        Swelling around eyes
  •       Difficulty breathing
  •       Hives
  •       Dizziness
  •       High fever

One of the biggest draw backs that people often are mistaken on is that they are subjected to believe that they could get the flu from the flu vaccine. This is a myth and one of the biggest myths that needs to be corrected. The facts state that it is impossible to get the flu from a flu vaccine. This is in part due to the fact that the vaccine contains a strain of the virus that is inactivated which means it is biologically incapable of producing the flu within the body.

Another myth, people often feel as if they do not need a flu vaccine every year because the one they got last year should be sufficient and do the job. The truth behind the matter is that your body’s immunity to the virus becomes weaker each year and a yearly injection of the vaccine keeps your immune system up to date in producing antibodies to fight the illness. Then in addition there is new strains that come out every year and these strains are analyzed and the vaccines vary from year to year. So, each vaccine is different each year and is effective against different strains which you may get.

Some people often feel that the flu vaccine is not useful for them because it was intended for the very young and the elderly generations. This once again is a myth. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that anyone from 6 months of age and on can receive a flu shot. The young and the old may be at an increased risk for catching the general flu but the shot is designed for everyone who wants to avoid the risk of catching it during the general season.

As an individual, you may be concerned that mercury is being used as a preservative within the flu shot vaccines. This is in part true and in part myth. The myth is that mercury is used in all flu shot vaccines. Mercury is only used in multi-dose vials. When an individual goes to a pharmacy or doctor’s office they use the single dose vials which are intended for one time use and do not have mercury in them to preserve it because it will not be stored for a long time.

If you have any questions at all one may seek out their local pharmacist and ask any given questions for clarifications and hopefully become vaccinated. Your pharmacist is one of the most convenient people you have access to that can make a difference in your life. Speak to them and become educated, medicated, and vaccinated. 

Resources

http://www.fffenterprises.com/assets/downloads/FFF_FluFactsMythsFacts.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/2015-16.htm

 

Script Your Future: COPD & Medication Adherence

Script Your Future

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic, progressive disease that is often caused by long-term exposure to lung irritants. This disease is a result of decreased air flow in and out of the lungs due to one or more of the following: airways lose their elasticity, the walls between the air sacs are destroyed, the airways thicken and become inflamed, and/or the airways have increased production of mucus which can clog them. COPD usually causes coughing along with the production of large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms.

The causes of COPD have been extensively studied, and it is no surprise that smoking is at the top of the list. Smoking, frequent exposure to air pollutants, secondhand smoke, and chemical fumes have all been linked to causing COPD.

With that being said, smoking cessation and avoiding harmful fumes are some of the best steps you can take to slowing the progression of this disease and improve your breathing. Because COPD is a progressive disease, it is especially important for patients to take their medications as they are prescribed by a doctor. The medications used to control/treat COPD are usually inhaled bronchodilators and corticosteroids. It is important for these medications to be used regularly, not just when a “flare up” occurs in order to get the best outcomes possible.

Not only does COPD directly affect one’s ability to breathe, it also puts these patients at higher risk for other respiratory conditions. Influenza and pneumonia, especially, are two of the most common co-conditions seen in patients with COPD. Fortunately, there are vaccinations to help prevent you from ever getting the flu or pneumonia! It is recommended for all persons with COPD to get their flu shot each year, and get their pneumonia vaccine as recommended by their health care provider. Managing chronic conditions like COPD can be challenging, but it is important to stay educated about the disease and how to manage it appropriately.

Visit www.scriptyourfuture.org & Take the Pledge to Take Your Meds today!

10 Days Left! American Pharmacists Month 2016

Our UCSOP faculty, staff, and students are busy with activities that emphasize the role of the pharmacist in providing optimum patient care during the month of October 2016. This month is American Pharmacists Month, a time dedicated to celebrate all the contributions pharmacists make to health care. But, it’s also a time to provide community outreach and education about medication safety, medication adherence, and disease management.

P1070579This month, our students have organized health fairs, immunization clinics, and other outreach projects throughout the Kanawha County. Whether delivering Generation Rx curriculum to area elementary schools to help teach children about prescription abuse and medication safety or filling prescriptions at the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association, our students and faculty are dedicated to utilizing their skills and knowledge in ways that benefit our community.

With 10 days left in American Pharmacists Month, our students are busy planning and preparing for several events including:

  • Saturday, October 22 –  Providing health services at the RAMS Clinic in Elkview
  • Monday, October 24 – Friday October 28 SNPhA Power-To-End-Stroke Tweet-a-Thon #SNPhANoBarriers • @SNPhARegion2 • @UCSOP • #UCSOP
  • Thursday, October 27 Health Fair from 4-7pm at the YMCA
  • Saturday, October 29 CPFI & ACCP Trunk or Treat—Promoting Poison Control at the South Charleston Kroger
  • Monday, October 31 SNPhA’s Say Boo to the Flu! Immunization Clinic at Family Care, (West Side near Patrick Street)

Our students serve over 10,000 patients throughout the Kanawha Valley each year through their activities and health fairs. We are proud of the work they do and their focus on community and public health.