The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released the 2011-12 seasonal flu vaccine and local practitioners are urging everyone to get the shot.
"Influenza has become a public health issue in recent years, and we encourage everyone over the age of 6 months to receive the seasonal flu vaccine," explains Dr. Mousumi Chanda-Kim, internist with Seton Family of Doctors at Hays. Only individuals with allergies to eggs or other preservatives in the vaccine should not receive a flu shot.
In addition, certain populations should receive a pneumococcal vaccine to protect against pneumonia. This group includes persons age 65 and up, adults who smoke or have asthma or other chronic lung conditions and anyone with long-term health problems or who is immune-compromised. "The pneumococcal vaccine is not as well publicized, but is very important for some," adds Dr. Chanda-Kim.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Goman, also an internist with Seton Family of Doctors at Hays, flu season typically runs from mid- to late-December through February, but can vary from year to year. For the vaccine to provide maximum protection during the peak of flu season, Dr. Goman advises patients to get vaccinated in mid-October. "It takes four weeks for your body to build up immunity once the vaccine has been administered. Once established, the antibodies last three to four months," she explains.
The flu is characterized by its sudden onset of intense symptoms, which include high fever and severe body aches. "If you get the flu, the key is to identify the symptoms and begin treatment early," adds Dr. Chanda-Kim. "By starting anti-viral medications in the first 24 to 72 hours, you reduce the severity, duration and spread of the virus."
To further prevent the spread of flu germs, you should practice diligent hand washing, cough into your sleeve instead of your hand and avoid contact with anyone who is sick. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as all three are portals for germs.
Dr. Goman urges patients to stay home if they have symptoms of the flu. Children and adults should be fever free without the use of fever reducer for 24 hours before going back to daycare, school or work.
If you're not sure if it's allergies or the flu, call your doctor. "Even if it is only allergies, we can help. You don't have to be miserable," states Dr. Chanda-Kim.
To schedule an appointment with Drs. Chanda-Kim or Goman, please call Seton Family of Doctors at Hays at (512) 504-0855.
Dr. Mousumi Chanda-Kim
Dr. Chanda-Kim earned her medical degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, where she also completed an internship. She completed her residency at the Central Texas Medical Foundation in Austin. Dr. Chanda-Kim is an accomplished classical violinist and pianist and enjoys overseas travel, art history, foreign films and Texas Longhorn football. She is board certified in Internal Medicine.
Dr. Elizabeth Goman
Dr. Goman is board-certified in Internal Medicine. She received her medical degree from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After completing her elective in internal medicine and cardiology at Birmingham University in the United Kingdom, Dr. Gorman did her residencies in internal medicine at Kuala Lumpur General Hospital and New Rochelle Hospital in New Rochelle, NY. Subsequently, she completed a fellowship in geriatric medicine at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She has held a faculty position at UCLA School of Medicine as Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine and Geriatrics. Dr. Goman specializes in internal and geriatric medicine.
Seton Family of Doctors at Hays
5103 Kyle Center Dr., Ste. 104
Kyle, TX 78640
Phone: (512) 504-0855