Is your family ready for flu season?

Are you ready for flu seasonFrom cooler temperatures to pumpkin pie, we welcome many things that come with the fall season, but the flu is not one of them. Dr. Katherine Leitner, a TMCOne provider at TMC Rincon Health Campus, provides some important pointers to best prepare families for flu season.

How should a family prepare for flu season?

The most effective preventative measure is a flu vaccination. Everyone in the family should get a flu shot.

If experiencing flu-like symptoms:

  • cover your mouth when coughing
  • avoid touching your face
  • wash your hands with soap and water frequently
  • disinfect surfaces you come in contact with
  • and stay at home for at least 24 hours

When should you get a flu shot?

The Centers for Disease Control recommends receiving a flu vaccine in October. Even if you did not receive the flu shot in October, it is still beneficial to obtain one throughout the flu season which can run through January or later. It is also important that everyone get the flu shot yearly, because the flu strain changes from year to year.

What about vitamin C and a healthy diet?

Studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin C during a cold does not actually improve the outcome or decrease the duration of illness. However, it is always important to stick to a healthy diet so you can build a good immune system for when you do get sick. During an illness, drinking lots of fluids and staying hydrated is very important.

What should you do if a child is showing flu symptoms?

Make an appointment with your child’s health care provider right away. The provider can test for the flu and treat it with a medication if caught early. To prevent the spread of illness, keep your child out of school until he or she is feeling better.

Who should get the flu shot?

Dr. Robert Jacobson, a pediatrician with Mayo Clinic, says, “The latest recommendations from the CDC reaffirm that all of us are at risk for catching and spreading the flu, and all of us should get our flu shot this fall. Very few of us cannot get the vaccine. Our getting the vaccines protects them, too.”

Influenza vaccine recommendations for the 2017-18 season include these updates and changes:

  • Afluria Quadrivalent and Flublok Quadrivalent are now available for patients 18 and older.

  • FluLaval Quadrivalent may be given to children as young as 6 months. Previously, administration was limited to children 3 and older.

  • Pregnant women may receive any age-appropriate flu vaccine that is approved and recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

  • FluMist Quadrivalent should be not should not be used during the 2017–2018 season due to concerns about its effectiveness against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses in the U.S. during the 2013–2014 and 2015–2016 influenza seasons.

The CDC continues to recommend vaccination for all people aged 6 months and older without contraindications, preferably by the end of October. For those aged 65 and older, the CDC says standard-dose or high-dose vaccine is acceptable.
As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Tucson Medical Center works directly with Mayo Clinic, the nation’s No.1 hospital according to U.S. News & World Report. Our doctors get access to Mayo Clinic knowledge and resources, and you get the best care, close to home.

For information on how to protect infants under 6 months from the flu see this TMC for Children post.

Dr. Leitner is a TMCOne provider at the TMC Rincon Health Campus, near Drexel and Houghton.

 

5 Reasons why you need a primary care provider

5 reasons why you need a primary care physiciaWhy do you need a primary care provider?

You feel fine. No major illnesses, the occasional sniffle, and that niggling headache of course, and your mom just got diagnosed with high cholesterol, but you? You feel fine. You haven’t seen a doctor since you had to rush into urgent care that weekend two years ago.

The time to go to your PCP is when you’re sick right? You don’t have time right now.

WRONG!

Establishing a relationship with your primary care provider has all kind of benefits:

  1. Try getting in to see a provider quickly if you don’t have a primary care provider.
    They’ll want you to have had a new patient appointment to get a history and baseline information first. Those long appointments are usually at set times and not as flexible as regular appointments. Having a PCP established means the office is more able to squeeze you in for a quick appointment or call you back to discuss an issue and get you back on your feet and maybe back to work quickly.
  2. Back on the road to recovery
    A primary care provider can follow up and make sure you’re on the way to recovery following a visit to urgent care or an emergency room.
  3. Keep you up to date
    Whether it’s a new flu strain or new wellness screening guidelines, your primary care provider can help you stay current on vaccinations and preventive screenings maintaining your good health.
  4. A medical professional who looks at the whole you
    Your cardiologist is worrying about your heart rate, your neurologist your seizures, but who is looking at the big picture? Your primary care provider can oversee management of your overall health – your PCP  is able to see results from all specialists and able to get the big picture. And because your PCP has a relationship with you, he or she can help come up with a plan if you have complex medical needs. Which leads us to:
  5. Someone you can talk frankly with about your health concerns
    With a relationship that develops over time, a primary care provider can better understand what matters to you with respect to your lifestyle choices, health goals, etc. Building trust and a connection is an important piece of the relationship between a patient and a primary care provider. If you have a good relationship, it is easier to share those pertinent factors that you might be shy about otherwise.

Don’t have a primary care provider? Let us help you find one today! Call (520) 324-4900

find a doctor in Tucson

Vaccines are particularly important for seniors

vaccines seniorsVaccinations are important for all populations to prevent the spread of, and complications caused by, serious illnesses. It is particularly important for seniors to receive recommended vaccinations because the body’s immune system becomes more susceptible to illness as we age.

Flu vaccine

The most important vaccine for seniors is an annual influenza or flu vaccine. An estimated yearly average of 21,000 influenza-related deaths occur among adults 65 years-old and older.

New vaccines have been developed to address senior needs, and promote a better immune response.

Currently, high-dose influenza vaccines are licensed and available. Studies done on more than 31,000 people found 24 percent greater effectiveness with this compared to standard dose vaccines, although there are more potential side effects.

Pneumococcal or pneumonia vaccine

There are now two different vaccines for people 65 and older. These are 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, or PCV 13, and 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, or PPSV 23.

The first covers 13 strains of the bacteria that commonly causes pneumonia and the second covers 23 strains. PCV 13 is recommended to be administered first followed 6-12 months later by PPSV 23. If PPSV 23 has already been received, PCV 13 should be given one time at least one year later.

There are no repeat doses unless the patient received a first dose prior to age 65 and is experiencing chronic-disease complications.

Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccines

Since 2012 tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough, vaccine (TdaP) has been recommended for all adults aged 65 years and older.

Initially, it was given to adults under 65 in order to prevent it from spreading to children – then cases of whooping cough started occurring in people over the age of 65, leading to the recommendation for everyone 65 and older to receive it one time. After the one dose, it is suggested that seniors receive a tetanus and diphtheria vaccine every 10 years.

Shingles vaccine

Zostavax, a vaccine to help prevent shingles, has been available since 2006. Although Zostavax can have complications for individuals over 60, the vaccine prevented about 50 percent of shingles in this population.

Most importantly, it significantly decreased the incidence of post-herpetic neuralgia, or pain that continues for months and sometimes years after shingles is over. At this time, it is recommended that all people 60 and older receive one vaccination.

Vaccines are particularly important for seniors

Seniors should address a primary care provider and discuss their medical history, current needs, and how vaccinations fit into their overall health plan.

abraham

Dr. William Abraham is board-certified in internal medicine and has more than 30 years of experience. He is a TMC One provider who specializes in same-day/next-day appointments at the Wilmot location.

TMC One Med Group your health your team OL


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461