JACKSON TWP. Patty Sedello and Robin Totten, registered nurses with the Aultman Working on Wellness (WOW) program, talked with shoppers at Belden Village Mall on Nov. 13 about tips and trends to weather the flu season.
The mission of WOW is to talk with people by visiting different sites around the county such as schools, shopping malls, churches and local events and provide health education on a variety of medical topics. On this particular Tuesday, members were talking about the flu season.
"To prevent getting the flu this year, we encourage people to get a flu shot," Sedello said. "Other ways to prevent getting the flu is to wash your hands and if you don’t feel good, stay home. A lot of people say they got the flu after getting the shot, but the shot doesn’t take affect for two weeks. So those people were either exposed to the flu before the shot or sometime in that two weeks after getting the shot."
In past years, people were told not to get a flu shot if they had any type of reaction to eggs. Sebello said there is now a flu vaccine that people who have an allergic reaction to eggs can get. She also said that the flu vaccine is improved every year.
According to www.cdc.gov, vaccine manufacturers are projecting that they will supply 163 million to 168 million doses of flu vaccine for the 2018-19 season. The site recommends, "getting a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in a community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. Center for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout flu season, even into January or later."
The CDC website reports that its difficult to predict what this next flu season will be like, but that the seasonal flu season begins as early as October and November and continues to occur as late as May. It normally peaks between December and February.
Sedello said that there is a new shingles vaccine available this year and that persons can also get a pneumonia shot that will last five to seven years.
"We are also talking to people today about diabetes and Alzheimer’s because November is Diabetes Awareness and Alzheimer’s Awareness month. The WOW van and program can come out to any organization to talk about wellness and do basic screenings such as blood pressure, weight, BMI and CO2 levels. This a free service," Sedello said.
Some flu prevention tips from WOW include:
- Get vaccinated.
- Stay away from people who are sick if possible.
- Wash hands often with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Use medications the way doctors’ recommend.
- Cover nose and mouth with a tissue or arm when coughing or sneezing.
- If experiencing flu symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.
Signs of the flu can include:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Feeling weak or more tired than usual
- Body aches
- Could also include vomiting or diarrhea