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Posts Tagged ‘Rich Carter’

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…

The Flu and You, Part 1: Why Should (Almost) Everyone Get a Flu Shot Every Year? By Our September Student Pharmacist, Rich Carter.

Well, that time is now upon us again.

What’s that Rich? Are you talking about Buckeye football season? Or the major league baseball race to the playoffs?

No, I am talking about flu (shot) season! It is now time to start thinking about flu shots. Scratch that–it is now time to come in and get your flu shot or schedule an appointment if that would make your life easier. The flu shots are here–hot off the press!

There is a fair amount of talk out in the community regarding different kinds of shots and what type of shot may or may not be the best for you. We are here to help you with those decisions and make your flu shot experience as seamless and painless (well almost) as possible. Over the next couple of weeks, you and I are going to go on a short journey. We are going to cover some frequently asked questions and try to dispel some myths and misinformation regarding the flu shot. I will try to ‘arm’ you with the most up-to-date and proper information so that you can make informed decisions about your healthcare. As always, if you have any questions regarding any immunizations, don’t hesitate to call and ask us. We are here to help you!

Ok, without further adieu…

Why should I get a flu shot?

I am glad you asked that question! The flu, or Influenza, is a serious disease. The flu can lead to hospitalization and occasionally even death. Sometimes, people who are normally very healthy can get the flu and become very sick. It is estimated that up to 49,000 people suffered from a flu-related death between 1971 and 2007. Besides being potentially deadly, the flu is no picnic!

Flu symptoms can include:

  • Fever/chills
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Runny or stuffy nose

Some people may become sicker than others, but, typically, the people (or family members of these individuals) who must be the most careful are:

  • Young children
  • Individuals over 65
  • Pregnant Women
  • People with certain health conditions, such as heart, lung, or kidney disease or a weak immune system

If you are in any of these groups or have a loved one in these groups, then both you and this person should get the flu shot. If you are not in any of these groups or don’t know anyone in these groups, then you may need to get outside, meet people, and stop living in a van down by the river. Seriously, though, you should get the flu shot also, both to protect you and those around you.

I got the flu shot last year, so why do I need to get another one this year? I paid attention in biology class and they said that your immune system is capable of ‘remembering’ viruses so that it can defend against them in the future (sometimes years).

I say to you, first of all, great job for paying attention in biology class, because you are absolutely right, your immune system can remember a virus, sometimes for your entire lifetime. The problem is that the flu is always changing. Most of the time all three (or sometimes four) of the flu strains that the shot covers change every year. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) runs complicated studies to determine which flu strains are the most deadly and which are the most likely for you to encounter. Then, the CDC picks three to create a combination vaccine, which will maximize your protection for the year.

That is all for this week. Look for Part 2 next week as we will explore more of the information, myths, and legends of the flu shot. Additionally, if you want more information, all of the info I have given you and much more is available at www.cdc.gov/flu/.

Please Welcome Our Student Pharmacist for September, Rich Carter!

You guys do a great job of making all of our pharmacy students feel welcome while they are here for month long rotations with The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy. This month, we have Rich Carter in the pharmacy learning all he can about independent pharmacy practices. Please give him a friendly Plain City greeting the next time you are in.

Here is what Rich has to say about himself:

“Hello, my name is Rich Carter and I am a student pharmacist. As early as I can remember, I have always enjoyed helping people. I had the opportunity to grow up next to a neighbor who was a pharmacist and actually got to spend a pharmacy day with him in the fourth grade. All of the employees were having a great time and every customer was extremely engaged with the pharmacist, who obviously loved the interaction and his job. Even though this was a very positive memory for me, it didn’t ‘click’ until much later (approximately twenty years later, it turns out) that this was the career for me. When I graduated high school, I knew that I would like to help people, but I wasn’t sure of how I wanted to do that.

“A few years, and a number of attempted majors later, during a summer job, I met an electrician who had recently spent a few years in the United States Coast Guard. His Coast Guard experiences fascinated me and upon further investigation, I saw that with the Coast Guard I would get the chance to help people and serve my country at the same time. I spent the next 9 and a half years performing many of these much loved functions. I was based out of Seattle, Panama City Beach, Norfolk, Los Angeles, and Guam. I performed many different duties, including acting as the boarding officer for fisheries, drug and migrant interdiction, rescue swimmer, small boat coxswain (driver), vessel traffic service watch supervisor (air traffic control on the water in Los Angeles), and planning team member.

“I enjoyed my time in the Coast Guard very much, but I wanted more time helping people on a day-to-day basis. At one point in my career, I was in charge of the occupational medical monitoring program for benzene for approximately 100 Coast Guard personnel. This job gave me great satisfaction and I began to think about a job in healthcare.

“I was discharged from the Coast Guard in 2005 and went back to my hometown in central Pennsylvania and attended Bloomsburg University, finishing my Bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. I wanted to attend a much larger institution for my Pharm D degree, but I wasn’t interested in attending a school in a huge metropolitan area. Columbus is a great fit for my wife and me and we are happy to say we are intending to stay after graduation (hopefully!) next May. After experiencing life in pharmacy for the last few years, I can happily say that working in a pharmacy is my first best destiny. To quote Melville, who said it best, ‘The path to my chosen purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run.'”