TONYA  SHACKELFORD: Tips to Fight the Flu

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This week on TALK! with AUDREY: Flu season is here and Tonya Shackelford has tips to help you become a flu fighter.


Audrey: This is TALK! with AUDREY, welcome back. Well, as the flu season begins to pick up as you know, it starts in October November and then it actually peaks December and March and can last as long as May. Health officials are urging everyone to be prepared. Tonya Shackelford is the director of clinical and professional services for Fred's Pharmacy and she has some tips to help you be a flu fighter this season. Hi Tonya.

Tonya: Hello. How are you?

Audrey: I'm wonderful. Thank you. So what kind of flu cases are you seeing so far this year.?

Tonya: So we've seen some early cases. You know the last couple of seasons have been a little bit lighter. Like you said it usually peaks anywhere from December to March and can last as late as May. The one consistency about flu is that it's inconsistent. So you you never know when it's going to hit your area or when it's going to peak. So that's wise. The CDC recommends that as soon as the the flu vaccine becomes available which is usually in mid August that you go ahead and get your flu shot to protect yourself for the season.

Audrey: And what flu strains are you seeing this season? I know that you hear a lot of talk about different strains.

Tonya: Yes. So there are different strains. What we are seeing so far is that about 80 percent of the strains are the A strain. Of course you get into a whole bunch of different letters and numbers after that but mostly A some B. Vaccine effectiveness can vary because we are trying to predict what strains we're going to see. The important thing and I think this is where a lot of the misconception comes in is even when there's not a perfect viral strain match the vaccine can still help offer some protection. So even if it's not an exact match you might still get the flu or test positive for the flu but you usually get a much milder case and it can help prevent more serious complications from the flu.

Audrey: Now you know Tonya, there are a lot of people who are resistant when it comes to to getting a flu shot. What would you say to them about the level of protection and the importance of that.

Tonya: Yeah, we see a lot of people and we are aware of a lot of a lot of myths out there about why people do not want to get a flu shot. You know one of the big ones is, "last time I got the flu the flu shot I got the flu" which is not possible. Flu vaccines are made from viruses that are inactivated and they're not infectious at all. The problem comes in that it can take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective. So say you were exposed to the flu right before you got your flu shot or maybe even right after you got your flu shot you can still get the flu, but you did not get it from the flu shot you know. And a lot of other people are say well I'm healthy, I don't need a vaccination.

Tonya: And that's when you know it's really important that even healthy people can get sick from the flu missed time from work or school or even end up hospitalized. But the biggest thing is as you know you really want to protect those that are you know extremely young extremely over 65 or have other health conditions like diabetes heart conditions asthma those are the people that are really subject to being hospitalized and even worse passing away from complications from the flu.

Audrey: Now we certainly don't want that. So how can you protect yourself otherwise from getting the flu.

Tonya: So you know the number one protection is washing your hands and that goes without being said. And then you know there's there's the hand sanitizer just being aware of of where you are and keeping keeping sanitary and of course seeing your pharmacist to get recommendations on which flu vaccines right for you and making sure the pharmacist can get you taken care of right there without an appointment.

Audrey: And if you have any questions about the type of flu vaccine that you're receiving a good conversation with the pharmacist would help?

Tonya: Absolutely and we can we can. Our pharmacists are very knowledgeable about not only a flu vaccine but other immunizations that you might need such as tetanus or pneumonia. And they they absolutely can consult with you about that and give you the shot right then and there.

Audrey: All right. Another concern that people have when they get the flu shot is what we we talked about a little earlier and that was that they might get the flu. Other folks say their arm always hurts afterwards. Are there any side effects to the flu shot?

Tonya: Well sure, some of the most common reactions are soreness on your arm redness or swelling around the injection site which can last maybe a day or two. Some people actually get a low grade fever headache. But you know, you think about these reactions as compared to the symptoms of a full blown case of the flu and they become very minor.

Audrey: And speaking of that full blown case of the flu I had that and I can tell you it was not fun. I've had my flu shot every year since then!

Tonya: Usually it only takes one case of the flu to make a flu immunization believer out of someone.

Audrey: There you go and I'm a believer. Where can people go for information?

Tonya: So if you go to Fred's dot com you can get information about our locations as well as other information or other questions you might have about immunizations or health overall.

Audrey: All right guys, informed is empowered. You've heard a few tips on how you can be a flu fighter this season. Tonya Shackelford, the director of clinical and professional services at Fred's Pharmacy has been my guest. You're now informed and empowered. Thanks so much Tanya for joining me.

Tonya: Thank you.

Audrey: You're very welcome. We'll be right back after this.




Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. The Adams Report.




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