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Nov 2, 2017

Healthy Living: Preparing for Cold and Flu Season

As temperatures go down, the number of colds and flues goes up. If you’re hoping to minimize the amount of sneezing and coughing you’ll have this flu season, then this next edition of Healthy Living is for you.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

2017 is winding down fast. As the end of the year approaches, so is the start of one predictable season in Belize and all over. The flu season. The cool northerly winds expected within the next month are known to contribute to an increase in colds and flus. That’s why now is the best time to take preventative measures. Chief pediatrician at Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital, Dr Cecilio Eck explains.

 

Cecilio Eck

Dr. Cecilio Eck, Chief Pediatrician, K.H.M.H.

“The flu vaccine works best prior to the flu season. The flu season starts during the winter months. Our winter months in Belize would be late October November December, January, February so that is ideally the time you should take it.  It takes weeks for your body to recognize the half dead germ to create antibodies to it and for those antibodies to be circulating so that when you come in contact with the sick folk who have the flu and the cough or you shake their hands and then go eat something and then you catch it the circulating antibodies that you created because of the flu shot will clear it from your body before you get any symptoms.”

 

Some people will be in a better position to fight off a flu but there are some who are more at risk of developing a more severe symptoms.

 

Dr. Cecilio Eck

“People who are at risk are the ones who need it desperately and those would be children, specifically kids above six months, pregnant females and elderly and people with chronic illnesses like sickle cell, asthma and hypertension and diabetes. But all that beings aid even a healthy adult would a strong immune system can for whatever reason become susceptible to a flu virus and when you get a very severe infection it can lead to pneumonia, hospitalization and even death in some cases. I tell people that even if it is the quoted thirty to thirty-three percent effective this year. I would take that thirty-three percent over zero percent because in our line of work or if you’re exposed to kids, if you’re more susceptible to it. You get exposed to these viruses multiple times every day.”

 

Every year, the scientists develop a new vaccine for the upcoming year. So the 2018 vaccine that is now available contains the most common flu viruses that we may be exposed to during the upcoming flu season. So it is important to get a new flu vaccine each year.

 

Dr. Cecilio Eck

“The flu vaccine protects against the flu viruses. There are many viruses that cause cold cough that look like the flu but the flu shot that you take protest against the flu virus that can be devastating so getting the shot won’t protect your from all the coughs and colds but it will protect you from the devastating flu that may mess you up for a week or two and even lead to complications.  It’s one of the most important medical advances in the last century. Vaccines have more people than other innovation that has been created – that humans have come up with.  Prevention is better than cure. You get the shot there is some side effects the side effects owl include fear of the shot, painful where you get it at the site, down the road it will hurt a little bit. If it’s the first time you’re getting it you may get a flu like illness. But then your body recovers and it remembers these bugs and builds antibodies against them and down the road even when you don’t know it’s working that’s when they are at work.”

 

Flus vaccines are available at private clinics & hospitals across the country for a cost of 65 to 80 dollars. But, after November 13 all public health clinics will have the vaccine available free of cost for children under 5, elderly, pregnant women, and persons with chronic illnesses.

 

Dr. Cecilio Eck

“I implore all parents, parents with young kids, all pregnant females; all parents with kids above 6 months take in the kid and get them protected.”

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