I’ve got a few extra things to say about the flu vaccine that I didn’t mention in the last Messenger. For those of you who want to play Russian Roulette, and not get the vaccine, we health advocates say it’s not about only you, but it’s also about protecting the community that you live in which includes your family and friends. I’ve heard several people say that “I never get sick so I don’t need a shot,”  but as I’ve learned the hard way to never say never!

Because I’m a new grandmother, and want to visit Teagan occasionally I owe it to her to get a flu shot. There are many walk-in clinics in Rochester and the area that you can go to to get immunized, but since I’m over 65 yrs. old, I made an appointment at the Kasson Clinic to get a Quadrivalent flu shot. This means that I’m getting shot with a vaccine that provides protection against 4 viruses instead of the trivalent or 3 strains. If you’ve already gotten your vaccine, congratulations!

Another nasty bug that’s on the prowl in MN, and at least 46 other states, is called enterovirus D-68. It is responsible for some of the recent increases in pediatric admissions and deaths for severe respiratory illnesses in several hospitals. It typically begins as cold-like symptoms, but worsens suddenly causing some patients to have trouble breathing, especially kids with pre-existing asthma. Health official have advised that if your child develops “high fever that doesn’t get better, severe cough, difficulty breathing, severe wheezing, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea with difficulty staying hydrated,” it’s time to contact your health provider. In a small percentage of the nonpolio enterovirus-D68 cases, patients require intensive care-unit assistance.

Health officials suggest the following measures to help limit the spread of the enterovirus D-68 virus plus other nasty viruses:

  1. Limit your contact with others! Don’t be stupid!  Stay home and don’t go to work or school.
  2. Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  3. Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, going to the bathroom, or changing diapers.
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  5. Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensil with people who are sick – even if it’s a movie star!
  6. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick. I add vinegar to soapy water for extra protection.
  7. Take advantage of available vaccines, like influenza and pneumococcal vaccine.

You should wear a mask for a respiratory illness if you need to go out. I wish you all a healthy fall and winter.

Take care, Genny

Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7