Archive for Flu

Kids Need Flu Shots Too

Flu season is here and I’m telling my adult patients they should get the flu vaccine and their children need it as much as they do.

I read a very sobering statistic from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). Cited in the Journal, Pediatrics, the CDC data stated “seasonal flu killed 830 children from 2004 to 2012, and 43 percent of them had no high-risk medical conditions.” In other words, these were normal children with no previous medical disorders.

Of the children who died, the report continued “death often came quickly: most of the children died within a week of the appearance of symptoms, and a third of them died outside the hospital or in an emergency room.”

The recommendation of most doctors is that people from 6 months of age and older get vaccinated, but, as the Wall Street Journal has noted, “compliance rates often are low. In the 2011-2012 flu season, about 42% of people got a vaccine including just half of children 6 months to 17 years old.”

As reported in the Journal, “flu vaccines offer protection against three kinds of viruses–two varieties of Type A viruses and one variety of Type B. This year, some vaccines contain a second variety of Type B virus.”

The Journal states there are a variety of vaccines that offer protection against the flu for children this year. They are:
The trivalent shot
The standard flu shot to protect against three strains of flu virus

the quadrivalent shot
New this year, a fourth strain of virus is added to the usual three

the nasal spray
This form of vaccination, called FluMist, is especially popular for use with children. It will be updated this year to include the quadrivalent vaccine. It shouldn’t be used by pregnant women as they spray contains live, albeit weakened viruses.

Consult your doctor for the vaccine that’s best for your child.

Have questions about the flu shot or immunology and live in the NYC area? Call my office for a consultation tel.#212-247-7447. Find more about my practice on my website

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Bird Flu Shouldn’t Affect Travel to China

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said recently that despite the outbreak of H7N9 bird cases and the widespread incidence of air pollution, China is still a safe destination for tourists.
Though bird flu cases continue to grow, they are  relatively small in number, with only a few fatalities.    However, the CDC  does offer preventative measures to tourists visiting China concerning bird flu.  It says:
  • stay clear of open air markets which offer chickens and other fowl for sale
  • do not touch live or dead birds
  • eat chicken thoroughly cooked
  • avoid street vendor food.
Air pollution is more of concern and widespread in China .  Seth Kugel, columnist for the Frugal Traveler of the New York Times said that on a trip to the Southwestern city of Chongqing. At night the “air pollution was burning his nose.”  A friend from that area joked “well the pollution isn’t as bad as in Beijing.”
In January 2013, the American Embassy issued a report on the air quality based on a scale (large air particles) set by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).  With a “hazardous” air quality topping out at 500, Beijing’s air was a whopping 755 at 8PM one January evening.  People were seen wearing masks and the embassy suggested that all tourists should stay indoors until the air quality improved.
Tourists with asthmatic or respiratory problems, says the Embassy, should avoid traveling to Beijing in the winter when pollution is the worst and other big cities  like Shanghai. The best seasons to travel to China is late summer and autumn.  They should also listen to Embassy air pollution reports daily.
For relatively pollution-free tourist sites, tourist operators suggest the mountains of Changbabaishan, the highlands of Yunnan Province and Tibet for American tourists, as well as most coastal areas  and the islands of Hong Kong.
For more on the CDC guidelines for travel to China visit CDC Health Information for Travelers

Have questions about immunizations? If you live in the NYC area contact my office at 866-632-5537 for assistance with your allergy, asthma, sinus or immunological concerns.

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