Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Everyone should get a flu shot

By Connie Caldwell, M.D.

It’s that time of year: The winter holidays are upon us and so is the flu season.

Even though we’ve experienced mild fall weather so far, we are already seeing a few cases of seasonal influenza. Influenza arrives every winter and sickens millions of people around the world each year. The very young, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses are most severely affected.

To avoid the flu and related risks, the flu shot is recommended (with rare exception) for everyone over 6 months of age. Each year’s vaccine is a little different because each year, the vaccine is produced to match the most common strains of influenza that are circulating around the world.

We were sorry to hear in a recent column that Bob Dunning’s family fell ill shortly after receiving the flu vaccine. The fact is, however, one cannot get influenza from the vaccine.

The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to become fully effective because it takes that long for one’s body to build up the necessary antibodies (defense) against infection. Every year, there are those who believe they contracted the flu from the vaccine when, in reality, they either had already been exposed to the virus before receiving the vaccine or they came down with another respiratory virus (the common cold) or an intestinal virus.

Note: intestinal viruses are commonly and mistakenly called “stomach flu” and are unrelated to seasonal influenza.

So you say, “I never get sick, I’m healthy, why should I get a flu shot?” If you are healthy, you might not get very sick with influenza. Still, you would be contagious and could give the flu to your family, acquaintances and vulnerable members of your community. When weighing whether to get the flu vaccine or not, please consider both your health and the health of those around you.

Influenza kills thousands of people in the United States every year. The best way to protect your family, classmates and co-workers is to get the flu vaccine every year, and early in the fall before influenza season is in full swing. That way, your body has plenty of time to gear up before influenza really comes knocking.

Be well!

— Connie Caldwell, M.D., is Yolo County’s health officer.

Special to The Enterprise


Discussion | 8 comments

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  • John TroidlNovember 23, 2013 - 6:39 pm

    Excellent letter from Dr. Caldwell, our Yolo County health officer on the flu shot! Particularly impressive is her taking time out to include a reassuring word to Mr. Dunning and his family to let them know that they did not get sick from the flu shot but rather from prior exposure to the flu virus itself. The County Health Department offers flu shots at a very reasonable (nominal) price at a variety of locations. Please see this web page for information on where/when to get your flu shot: Meanwhile I am going to give a donation to the Explorit Science Center here in Davis in Mr. Dunning's honor as part of an effort to increase scientific literacy in our community. As Dr. Caldwell says "Be well!".... and be smart! :)

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  • Relvis P. JohnsonNovember 26, 2013 - 7:58 am

    Even though Bob Dunning does not have a Ph.D, an MBA or a Master of B.S. after his name, I don't think for one minute that Bob was implying that he and his family got the flu from the flu vaccine, he was just writing about the irony of the situation. Some people take themselves (and their "value" to the community) far too seriously. As a response, I am donating to the Emerson Junior High School Math Club in Tradl's honor as part of an effort to increase basic math literacy and truth in political advertising. Our community is continually bombarded with lies by professional politicians and healthcare people who promise to "reduce the number of people who have no health insurance, reduce rates up to $2,500.00 per family and provide far better healthcare services." And to top it all off, we can keep our current insurance plans and Doctors if we wish. If we don't agree with The Multiple Degree Holder that 2 - 2 = 1, we're all just a bunch of "Teabaggers." Is this any way for a "Healthcare Professional" to speak to the good people of our community?

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  • John TroidlNovember 26, 2013 - 9:24 am

    Dear Mr. Johnson: Thank you very, very much for your upcoming donation to the Emerson Junior High School Math Club in my honor! While Davis schools are quite above average, they can still benefit from our extra support and your commitment to learning is great! And to do so in my honor (and that of my forebearer Joseph Troidl who emigrated from Germany in the 1920s) is very pleasing! I hope the donation is a very large one! BTW, when I read your letter this morning, I thought your name looked familiar and doing a search found that you had replied to a prior comment I made about workshops on Obamacare offered by the local community health centers. In your reply at that time, you described Obama as "The Presidential Dictator", called him a "Communist leaning, gun-running coward and known habitual liar" and implied that he employed "private SS (IRS) goons" that "make your life a living hell" ...... "if you do not follow his orders". Pretty strong words... that some might call name calling. But I will address the Obamacare issue in a proper reply to that input of yours in a day or so. Finally, Bob Dunning is a trained lawyer with a JD (juris doctor) from our very own UC Davis King Hall Law School. He is certainly an educated man with a doctorate in law! :)

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  • Relvis P. JohnsonNovember 26, 2013 - 10:36 am

    The difference between calling people nasty names because they dare to disagree with you, and the antics & behavior of Obama and his blind followers, is not even close. I can't wait to be educated as to why we should listen to any more lies from the left. if Barack Obamacare were so great, why do people have to lie to convince others to go along with the ponzi-scam? I stand behind what I said about Obama, do you still want to call me a teabagger?

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  • John TroidlNovember 26, 2013 - 10:40 am

    I would rather call you a large donor (benefactor) of our local schools and someone who is seeking enlightenment. That seems apt.

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  • Relvis P. JohnsonNovember 26, 2013 - 11:17 am

    You're a little smarter than I thought you were. Right now is the best time for you to call for a tactical diversion! A highly educated healthcare professional, should not resort to using such filth in a family newspaper, simply because someone you look down upon, disagrees with you. Perhaps the fair-minded people of Yolo County may consider your advice and respond in a positive way, if you simply back off from your usual "I went to Stanford, so I know better than anyone else" speech...

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  • John TroidlNovember 27, 2013 - 4:39 am

    Relvis, what is your beef with Stanford? There are lots of reasons to be proud of having attended/graduated from Stanford. Did you know that one of our City Council members is a Stanford grad? That another one of our City Council leaders worked there for a few years? And Bob Dunning would have probably gone to law school there if he had gotten in. Actually, if you look at our representatives on the City Council you see a fairly interesting pattern....every single one of them has education beyond college, most with a formal graduate degree. (In fact, three are lawyers). You don't have a problem with the fact that our City Council is well educated, do you. Relvis? And back to Stanford, they have a nationally ranked football team which is going to play Notre Dame this week-end. your guy Dunning will probably goof on his forecast of who is gonna win, so I'll just check the "other" sources of odds before making a friendly wager of some treats from the Davis Farmers' Market this week-end.

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  • Puddin TaneNovember 27, 2013 - 11:48 am

    Relvis, you seem to be under the impression that Mr. Troidl has insulted you by calling you a "teabagger". However, after extensively reading his replies to you, I can safely conclude that he has only responded to you in a thoughtful and respectful manner. If I have missed anything that would qualify as a taunt or insult towards you, please feel free to point it out. In the meantime, might I suggest that you take a deep breath and count to ten in an effort to relieve your tension? Perhaps that calming exercise would help rejuvenate your faculties and allow you to present a more coherent and credible argument than your current attempt at connecting flu vaccines with Obama's alleged communist leanings.

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