Answering your questions about the Flu

Answering your questons about flu shots and the flu

Our Monday evening Answer Desk on NBC3 had the phones going with your questions on the flu and flu shots. Our panel--all medical professionals who are on the front line of dealing with flu--had this information to share:

DO get a shot, and do it now. The warm weather may delay this year's outbreak, but it still takes two weeks after the shot for full protection. Not having the money to pay for a flu shot is no excuse: Medicare and most insurance covers the cost, and if you still need help, check with your local County Health Department.

>There are more options this year, for the type of shot you can get. Dr. Lynne Humphrey, a family practice physician at St. Joseph's in Fayetteville, says the nasal vaccine (flumist) is no longer available because it's not as effective as expected. However there are trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines, which have either 3 or 4 strains of flu in the shot, and there is also a high-dose vaccine, recommended for people over 65.

>If you do get the flu, the advice for coping, according to St. Joseph's resident Dr Enayet Neak, is to drink plenty of fluids, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, and rest---also limit contacts with family members.

>Keeping the flu from spreading is especially important when groups are involved. Syracuse City Schools Medical Director Dr. Ted Triana says that parents should keep their children home (for the flu or other illnesses) if the temperatures is 100.5F or higher, if the child has vomiting or diarrhea, or if the child has acute abdomal pain.

>Again, if you have flu, pay especial attention to your personal hygeine. Sneeze into your sleeve and wash hands to keep germs from spreading. Also, St. Joseph's Physician Assistant Laura Arndt says avoid visiting, especially with anyone who is in the hospital or who is receiving medical treatment like chemotherapy or radiation.

To see the answers to more frequently asked questions, check the CDC website:

Next week, the Answer Desk offers help to caregivers of seniors--a look at services already offered, and your chance to offer suggestions for services that you'd like to see to help your loved ones...we'll take your questions and comments, 5 - 6:30pm on NBC3.

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