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Archive for September, 2013

The Flu and You, Part 3: But…The Shot Made Me Sick Last Year! By Our Sadly Soon To Depart Student Pharmacist, Rich Carter.

Well, this is my last blog post. Writing blogs has been an amazing experience! I will try to leave you with a final thought on what you should do if you run into common barriers to getting the flu shot.

In my experience, there is one main barrier (although I like to call it an excuse) for people getting the flu shot. I will attempt to convince non-believers that this barrier is a misconception. I hope that everyone (well, almost everyone) who saw my blog from two weeks ago will get the flu shot to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe from contracting the flu this season. As usual, all of the information contained in this blog can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website (here).

The most common barrier we hear is:

“The shot made me sick last year!”

(This excuse is one I also heard from my uncle who I couldn’t convince, even with my eight years of education with which he is intimately aware of, that he did not get the ‘flu’ from his shot. So, this blog is dedicated to him!)

The regular flu shot is not capable of causing the full-blown flu. There are several reasons why someone might get a “flu-like” illness, even after they have been vaccinated against the flu.

  • The first and most likely reason people think that the shot gave them the flu is they contracted a common cold. The common cold is caused by a virus called rhinovirus which is not covered by the flu shot. This virus can give you a very unhappy time, but it is not extremely serious. The actual flu is very serious and can lead to hospitalization and death.
  • Another explanation is that it is possible to be exposed to the flu virus, which causes the flu, shortly before getting the flu shot or just after getting the shot. It takes two weeks to develop the proper immunity to the flu virus, so you are protected. If you get the shot in this window of time, you could get sick. This is another perfect reason to get the flu shot today. Don’t wait!
  • A third reason why some people may experience flu-like symptoms despite getting vaccinated is that they may have been exposed to a flu virus that is very different from the viruses the shot is designed to cover. The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends largely on the “match” between the viruses selected (usually three, see last week’s blog) to make the vaccine and those spreading and causing illness. There are many different influenza viruses that spread and cause illness among people. The CDC has a limited amount of time to narrow down which viruses seem to be the most prevalent so that the shot can be created each year to cover the most probable strains.
  • The last and most unlikely reason is… you actually got the flu the vaccine was supposed to prevent. This can happen. The CDC does the best it can, but for some reason or another, in some instances, the flu shot doesn’t cover for the virus. This is very unlikely, but it could happen, so I am inclined to include it.

I hope that this information has been helpful! I have enjoyed writing these blogs and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Plain City and its inhabitants! Feel free to stop by and say hello, as I will be moving on to my next month-long rotation at Ohio State on the first of October.

The Flu and You, Part 2: What Flu Shots are Available and Which One is Right For Me? By Our September Student Pharmacist, Rich Carter, Who Can Give You Your Flu Shot.

Hello, ladies and gentlemen–I know you have been waiting with baited breath for my next installment of “The Flu and You,” so here we go.

I mentioned last time that we were going to discuss additional facts about the flu vaccine to dispel any fiction floating around and allow us to make a well-informed decision on what to do about the flu shot.

From my last installment, I hope I convinced you that most, if not everyone, should get a flu shot. What I want to talk about this week is the possible flu vaccine options that are available and how to choose the most appropriate option for you.

I will again be using information directly from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website, just as I did last week. If you need more information, feel free to visit that site here.

Without further adieu, here we go.

The flu vaccine is currently available in four main different “formulations” and they are (with recommendations):

  1. Trivalent dose (the regular flu shot)
    1. This formulation has three different strains of the flu virus in it. It is universally agreed upon that this vaccine will give adequate protection to all individuals ages 2 and up.
    2. This is the ‘standard’ by which all the others are being judged, and is, at this time, completely adequate for seasonal flu.
    3. My personal feeling is that until these new flu options (below) are proven to be better than the normal trivalent, I would stick with the regular flu shot.
  2. Quadravalent dose
    1. This formulation has four different flu virus strains in it, which would allow for more coverage against an additional strain of the virus.
    2. There is some thought that the presence of four strains in one combination could be problematic. An ongoing study is trying to show that this flu shot has the same amount of effectiveness as the regular trivalent one.
  3. High-dose
    1. This flu shot covers the same three strains of flu as the regular flu shot.
    2. This shot differs in that it is targeted (or marketed, if you want) towards older individuals (>65 years old). It has a much higher concentration of active ingredients than the standard dosing.
    3. The jury is still out on this formulation. Studies have shown that the high-dose shot causes a higher response from the immune system than the regular dose. The important thing to note is that a higher response from the immune system is great, but does that mean necessarily better protection? The answer, unfortunately, is we don’t know. There is a large study going on right now to determine this, and we will see…probably next year.
  4. Intranasal live, attenuated (weakened)–and, yes, up the nose, but no rubber hose, I promise! This formulation is different from all of the others.
    1. First, this vaccine is not an injection (yes, that’s right–no needles). It is a spray which shoots up into the nostril.
    2. Second, it is a “live attenuated” vaccine. For those unsure of what that means, it is a technically alive, extremely weakened strain which will not provoke a response from your immune system (you will NOT get the flu from using this).
    3. It is only approved for people aged 2 to 49 years.
    4. You can get some mild, short-lasting symptoms, which could include:
      1. Runny nose
      2. Fever over 100 degrees
      3. Sore throat

If I were pressed to make a decision on which flu shot to get, I would just (for now anyway) stick to the regular one. The regular flu shot is proven effective, and, as of now, the others are not proven to be any better. I hope this makes your choice as simple as mine.

As always, if you are unsure of which shot is right for you, feel free to contact us. We will steer you in the right direction. Stay tuned for my last hooray about flu shots next week when we explore my final topic… To… Be… Continued…

Annual Women’s Health Luncheon is Friday, September 27, from 10:30 am to 1 pm.

The Annual Women’s Health Luncheon will be held on Friday, September 27th from 10:30 am – 1 pm at the Living Hope Church, 16701 Square Drive in Marysville. The theme for this event is “Giving Back: the Pathway to Making a Difference.” Ohio’s Former First Lady Frances Strickland will be the keynote speaker. Lunch will begin being served at 11:30 am. The official luncheon program begins promptly at 12 pm.

As part of the program, three women will be recognized who have given back to Union County via the Nellie Fairbanks Pathfinder Award. These are women who have either inspired healthy living, given back in the Union County area through community service, or are upcoming “pathfinders” and under 30 years of age.

During the luncheon, there will also be a health fair running from 10:30 am – 12 pm. Women who attend the luncheon may take advantage of various health screenings.

This year the OSU James mobile mammography unit will be on site from 10 am – 2 pm for any woman who chooses to sign up. The toll free number to schedule an appointment is 1-800-240-4477. The American Cancer Society recommends women over 40 have an annual mammogram. Most major insurances are accepted. The luncheon committee is also working with the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program through the Ohio Department of Health to reduce/cover mammogram costs for those women who are between 50 and 65 years of age with no or little insurance coverage. Please call the number above for an appointment and to find out about program eligibility.

Tickets are available for $10 at the Union County Health Department, 940 London Avenue, Suite 1100 in Marysville and the Union County Memorial Hospital Gift Shop.

Special thanks to the sponsors for the 2013 Women’s Health Luncheon: Honda of Amercia, Marysville OB/GYN, Marysville Primary Care, Union County Foundation, and Union County Senior Services.

For more information, call 937-642-2053 or email Brenda.Rock@uchd.net.

To make the flyer bigger, click on it and then print it out.

 

7th Annual 4 Mile Run/Walk is Saturday, September 28.

The Seventh Annual 4 Mile Run/Walk and Kid Fun Runs, held each year by UPCO, the Uptown Plain City Organization, will fall on Saturday, September 28 this year. The main race will begin at 8 am with a Kid Fun Race starting at 9 am for those 14 years and younger. The Kid Fun Race includes both a 440 yard and a one mile race. The registration is $2 for the 440 and $5 for the one mile. Both of these races stay within Pastime Park and all participants receive a Fun Run Award.

Registration the day of the race is $30 and will begin at 7 am, ending promptly at 7:45 am. The Kid Fun Run Registration will end at 8:45 am.

There will be awards for the top finishers, as well as awards for age categories. For more information on all awards and event details, go HERE.

To download a course map, go HERE.

The race this year is being sponsored and powered by Schrock Automotive, Union County Grand Prix Series, and the Columbus Running Company. All proceeds from the run/walk will go for the charitable efforts of UPCO.

For additional information on the run/walk, go HERE.

To Like the Run/Walk on Facebook, go HERE.

The 6th Annual Union County Covered Bridge Bluegrass Festival is Friday, September 20 to Sunday, September 22.

The 2013 Union County Covered Bridge Bluegrass Festival will run from Friday, September 20 through Sunday, September 22. The event will be held again this year at the Pottersburg Bridge near North Lewisburg. You can even have dinner on the Pottersburg Bridge on Friday evening and breakfast there on Saturday morning. Additionally, there will be tons of great music, food, and history. There will even be a “Marketplace” this year where you can buy antiques and art.

Make sure you take a tour of the bridges. You can find out about the bridge tours HERE.

When Joe and I attended Mechanicsburg Junior High School, one of our super history teachers was Mr. Bill Purk. Mr. Purk was also my Junior High basketball coach (he sadistically loved to make us run sprints and I can still hear him telling us to line up for one more gut busting sprint down the gym–“On the line!”).

Mr. Purk is also a wonderful musician who performed at my and Joe’s wedding reception. Mr. Purk and The Muleskinner Band will be playing at the Covered Bridge Bluegrass Festival on Friday from 3-5 pm. Mr. Purk and friends will also be at the festival on Friday evening from 6:30 to 8 pm. For a full musical line up, go HERE.

This is the sixth year for this festival and it only continues to get better and better!

To find out more, visit the web site HERE.

For a schedule of events, please go HERE.

For a printable flyer with events listed for each day, go HERE.

To LIKE the event on Facebook and see photos from last year’s festival, go HERE.