Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season | Connecting Point | Jan. 7, 2019


>>>FLU SEASON IS UPON US AND
ACCORDING TO THE MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH’S LATEST
WEEKLY REPORT, FLU ACTIVITY HAS INCREASED FROM MODERATE TO HIGH,
WITH OFFICIALS ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO GET OUT AND GET A FLU
SHOT IF THEY HAVEN’T ALREADY. CAROLEE McGRATH SAT DOWN WITH
DR. ESTEBAN DELPILAR-MORALES,
WHO WORKS IN THE INFECTIOUS DISEASE DEPARTMENT AT BAYSTATE
MEDICAL CENTER IN SPRINGFIELD, TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE FLU
THIS SEASON AND PNEUMONIA.>>AND BASICALLY SO FAR THIS
SEASON WE HAVEN’T HAD A WHOLE LOT OF ACTIVITY. MOST OF THE FLU CASES WE HAVE
SEEN SO FAR HAVE BEEN ON THE OUTPATIENT SIDE. PEOPLE DON’T FEEL WELL, THEY GO
TO PHYSICIAN, GET DIAGNOSED, GET TREATED AND GO HOME. WE HAVEN’T HAD A WHOLE LOT OF
PATIENTS IN THE HOSPITAL, WE’VE HAD TWO OR THREE SO FAR. IT IS PRETTY EARLY IN THE SEASON
SO FAR. WE ARE KEEPING AN EYE ON THINGS.>>THE SEASON IS LONG?>>IT START OCTOBER OR NOVEMBER
AND DOESN’T END UNTIL MARCH, APRIL. WE FOLLOW THE NUMBER OF CASES,
YEAH, WE ARE DONE. SOME SEASONS ARE LONGER THAN
OTHERS.>>NATIONALLY THERE HAS BEEN
MORE FLU CASES, CORRECT?>>NATIONALLY, THERE HAVE BEEN
QUITE A FEW CASES IF YOU LOOK AT THE LATEST DATA FROM THE CDC
FROM LAST WEEK. THEY UPDATE IT WEEKLY. WE HAVE HAD ABOUT 30,000 PEOPLE
TESTED SO FAR. OF THOSE, ALMOST 7,000 HAVE BEEN
TESTED POSITIVE. SO THAT IS QUITE A LARGE NUMBER
FOR THIS EARLY IN THE SEASON. IT IS SOMEWHAT COMPARABLE TO THE
NUMBER OF CASES WE HAD FOR 2017-2018, WHICH WAS A VERY BUSY
SEASON.>>OKAY. WHEN YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THE
FLU, SOMETIMES IT CAN MIMIC A DIFFERENT VIRUS. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS TYPICALLY
PEOPLE WILL HAVE?>>THE FLU IS SIMILAR TO
RESPIRATORY VIRUS. YOU ARE GOING TO GET A COUGH,
YOU ARE GOING TO FEEL UNWELL. THE DIFFERENCE IS IT USUALLY
COMES IN ABRUPTLY, YOU HAVE FAIRLY HIGH FEVERS AND THERE IS
A LOT OF MUSCLE ACHES. PATIENTS FEEL LIKE A TRUCK RAN
THEM OVER, BUT NOT REALLY. IT TENDS TO BE VERY ABRUPT. A LOT OF PEOPLE WANT TO
ASSOCIATE THE FLU WITH NAUSEA, VOMITING, DIARRHEA, IN ADULTS IT
IS NOT THAT OFTEN. IN CHILDREN A FOURTH OF THEM GET
GASTROINTESTINAL SYMPTOMS. IF IT CAME ON QUICKLY, THINK OF
THE FLU. SOMETHING SLOWER, ONE OF THE
OTHER RESPIRATORY SEASONS WE HAVE.>>WHEN YOU GO TO THE DOCTOR,
THEY CAN TELL?>>YOUR DOCTOR WILL ASK
QUESTIONS TO DIFFERENTIATE. SOMETIMES IT CAN BE DIFFICULT. WE HAVE TESTING FOR IT FOLLOWING
CDC RECOMMENDATIONS LOOKING FOR THE GENETIC MATERIAL OF THE
VIRUS. IF IT IS THERE, WHETHER IT IS
ALIVE OR DEAD WE CAN TELL YOU IT IS THE FLU OR SOMETHING ELSE.>>HOW DO YOU TREAT IT?>>THE TREATMENT VARIES. THERE ARE ONLY ORAL THREE DRUGS
WE CAN USE. USUALLY WE RESERVE IT FOR
PATIENTS THAT COME INTO THE DOCTOR AND HAVE SYMPTOMS FOR
LESS THAN THREE DAYS. THAT IS FOR YOUNG, HEALTHY
ADULTS. THERE ARE A CERTAIN GROUP OF
PEOPLE WHO ARE AT HIGHER RISK OF DEVELOPING COMPLICATIONS, OLDER
THAN 65, KIDS YOUNGER SPECIFICALLY YOUNGER THAN 2. PEOPLE WHOSE IMMUNE SYSTEM IS
NOT WORKING, YOU ARE ON MEDICATIONS THAT SUPPRESS YOUR
IMMUNE SYSTEM, WE WILL GIVE THEM THE TREATMENT, WE ARE NOT GOING
TO WAIT THE THREE DAYS. IT DEPENDS WHAT GROUP YOU ARE
IN.>>OTHERWISE YOU HAVE TO KIND OF
RIDE IT OUT AS FAR AS REST?>>MOST OF THE TIME YOU
BASICALLY HAVE TO TOUGH IT OUT. YOUR OWN IMMUNE SYSTEM IS A VERY
COMPETENT MACHINE AND WILL CLEAR OUT THE VIRUS. WE DO PROVIDE TREATMENT FOR
PEOPLE AT HIGH RISK OF COMPLICATIONS. A HEALTHY ADULT, IF YOU GET THEM
EARLY, YOU STILL GIVE THEM TREATMENT BECAUSE IT REDUCES THE
TIME THEY ARE SICK AND SPREADING THE VIRUS AROUND.>>OKAY. AND TALK ABOUT THE CDC, THEIR
REPORTS SHOW THAT THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE DIE ACROSS THE COUNTRY
EVERY YEAR FROM FLU-RELATED ILLNESSES. WHAT CAUSES THAT.>>
OH, YEAH. WELL, IF YOU LOOK AT 2017-2018,
900,000 PEOPLE HOSPITALIZED THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE SEASON. THAT IS MORE BEDS THAN EVERY
SINGLE HOSPITAL IN THE U.S. 80,000 PEOPLE DIED. THAT IS BASICALLY ENOUGH TO FILL
UP A FOOTBALL FIELD. MOST OF THE TIME YOU HAVE A
DEATH RELATED TO THE FLU IT HAPPENS ONE OF TWO REASONS,
THERE IS SO MUCH INFLAMMATION IN YOUR LUNGS THAT YOUR LUNGS DO
NOT DO YOUR JOB. WHATEVER WE DO IN THE HOSPITAL
WITH MEDICATIONS AND MACHINES, YOUR BODY CAN’T COMPENSATE, THE
PATIENT PASSES AWAY. THE OTHER REASON IS YOUR BODY
MIGHT BE ABLE TO HANDLE THE INFLAMMATION OR GET RID OF THE
VIRUS, THE IRRITATION IN THE LUNG MAKES IT EASIER FOR YOU DO
GET BACTERIA, GET SEPTIC AND DIE FROM BACTERIA.>>COULD THAT BE PNEUMONIA?>>IN THOSE SETTINGS THAT IS
CLASSIFIED AS BACTERIAL PNEUMONIA. A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE IT
FLU IS A TYPE OF PNEUMONIA.>>I DON’T THINK PEOPLE DO
REALIZE IT. WHEN WE TALK ABOUT PNEUMONIA,
WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN FOR CASES THIS YEAR AND MOST VULNERABLE?>>FOR CASES IT IS A TYPICAL
YEAR. PNEUMONIA IS THE SECOND MOST
REASON FOR PEOPLE TO BE HOSPITALIZED IN THE U.S.
IT IS THE MOST COMMON CAUSE OF DEATHS FROM INFECTIONS FROM
PEOPLE WHO DO GO TO THE HOSPITAL. WE DO SEE IT EVERY DAY. CERTAIN GROUPS ARE AT HIGHER
RISK, ADULTS OLDER THAN 65, CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 5, ARE
MORE LIKELY GETTING COMPLICATIONS WHEN THEY GET
PNEUMONIA. WE WANT TO FOCUS ON THEM BEING
OKAY. ASTHMATICS, PEOPLE WITH COPD,
PEOPLE ARE RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS, IMMUNO SUPPRESSES YOU, HIV,
DIABETES.>>TELL ME ABOUT PREVENTION.>>A LOT OF BACTERIAL FROM
PNEUMONIA ARE NOT TRANSFERABLE TO PERSON THE TO PERSON. THE FLU IS. IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE IS SICK,
SOCIAL DISTANCING. YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE STORE TO
BUY GROCERIES AND GO TO WORK, YOU ARE GOING TO EXPOSE YOURSELF
TO PEOPLE. MAKE SURE YOU ARE WASHING YOUR
HANDS. YOU TOUCH YOUR FACE ANYWHERE
BETWEEN 2,000 AND 3,000 TIMES A DAY. THAT IS A LOT OF TIMES. IT IS VERY EASY TO SEE SOMEONE
COULD HAVE COUGHED HERE A COUPLE OF HOURS AGO, TOUCH MY NOSE,
TOUCH MY EYE AND I CAN GET INFECTED.>>THAT’S IT? WOW.>>YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU
WASH YOUR HANDS. WE PREFER ALCOHOL-BASED RUBS. THE ALCOHOL KILLS THE BACTERIA. CARRY THE PUREL THING IN YOUR
POCKET. 15 SECONDS OF RUBBING YOUR
HANDS, GETTING IN YOUR NAILS, I’M TALKING TO YOU, DOING IT AND
PROTECTING MYSELF AND MY FAMILY.>>AND FLU SHOT AS WELL?>>THAT IS THE THIRD PART. FLU SHOTS AND OTHER VACCINATIONS
THEY SHOULD BE UPDATED. CHILDREN, ARE THEY FOLLOWING
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE POWERS THAT BE, WHEN YOU ARE BORN, YOU
START GETTING YOUR PNEUMONIA VACCINATION, ESPECIALLY FOR
PNEUMOCOCCUS. THE FLU SHOT YOU NEED TO GET
EVERY YEAR. SOME PEOPLE SAY, I ALWAYS GET
SICK WHEN I GET THE FLU SHOT. NOT REALLY. YOU MIGHT HAVE CAUGHT ANOTHER
RESPIRATORY VIRAL INFECTION. THE FLU SHOT IS MADE NOT FROM
THE VIRUS, BUT A PIECE OF THE VIRUS. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET SICK
FROM THAT.

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