Tag Archives: virus

Hand washing: Just do it.

I’m the “wash your hands” mom, and that’s because it’s so engrained in me due to working a labs.

However, we also spray alcohol on EVERYTHING, including our hands in leu of hand sanitizer. The alcohol leaves our hands chapped, but the soap in the lab is expensive due to being highly-antimicrobial. It seems a better, more efficient, and cheaper  option to douse ourselves with isopropanol just as you would a hand sanitizer. But, is it really better? Is it worth spending the extra grant money on expensive soap? I reviewed this journal article (billed the most comprehensive study of it’s kind) and I have the answer. (Article information can be found at the bottom.)

Health care workers typically wash their hands with soap for around ten seconds before laying their hands on the next patient. And while you learned in grade school that you need a full thirty seconds of scrubbing with soap and hot water to be (mostly) germ-free, this ten second wash might just be as effective.

In the study the team used 62 volunteers with 14 different hygiene products and tested them with several different kinds of viruses and bacteria.

What did they find? Continue reading

I got the flu vaccine but still got sick…

You could still get sick with the flu even if you get the flu shot, or it could be something else. Here are some reasons why you may have flu-like/flu symptoms even after you got the shot:

  1. You may be sick from some other respiratory virus like the common cold, which has some similar symptoms to those of influenza. This can be confusing because these colds circulate during the same time as the flu does. The flu vaccine does not protect you from the common cold viruses.
  2. You may have gotten sick during the two week time period between which you got the shot and you develop antibodies to the flu strains in the shot. Often times this is when people say they got sick from the flu shot. However, you are unable to get sick from the flu shot.
  3. You may have been exposed to a strain of the flu that is very different from those in the flu vaccine. The strains in the vaccine are able to offer some coverage of other similar strains not in the vaccine. But there many strains of the flu and they can easily mutate to form new strains. Therefore, it can be somewhat hard to predict which strains of the flu will circulate during the season. However, the shot will more likely than not offer some coverage and that’s better than nothing.
  4. Different bodies respond differently to different vaccines. If your body doesn’t respond or make ample antibodies you may still get sick from the flu. There’s nothing around that.

You can’t get sick from the flu shot, but you may still end up sick. Nothing is certain but some protection is better than no protection. The flu can be and is deadly so please consider getting the shot for yourself and your children, not only to protect your family but to offer some herd immunity to those unable to protect themselves this season!

Influenza vaccine information for children under 8

Kiddos with the highest risk of complications from the influenza virus are those aged 0-5, and the CDC is recommending all children age 6 months and older get the flu shot this year and every year.

Children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years who are getting their FIRST flu shot will most likely need to have two doses a month apart.

The first dose is needed to “prime” the immune system and the second dose provides protection from the flu. (Children who do not get the second dose have much less or no protection from the flu.)

The first dose needs to be given as soon as the vaccine becomes available so that the second dose can be given in time to have protection at the peak of the season.

After that, the child will only need one dose per year for coverage.

Children under six months are unable to receive the vaccine, but there are still ways to offer them protection. First and foremost, urge everyone around your children under 6 months to get the vaccine to keep the flu from getting close. (Herd immunity, folks!) Also, follow those common-sense hand washing and germ-reducing rules you learned in elementary school!

And please, please, please…stay home when you’re sick. I can’t say that enough.

 

Vaccines 101

When a germ such as a virus or bacteria enters your body, your immune system goes into battle. It makes antibodies that locate the germ and launches an attack to fight it off.

After the antibodies have attacked they stick around in the body to protect you if the same germ enters your body again.

Often the antibodies can stop an infection by the remembered germ should it enter your body again. The infection is stopped before you even show signs of being sick! Continue reading

Antibiotic Resistance

 

Antibiotics have been around since the 1920’s and play a huge role in the treatment of bacterial infections. But when used incorrectly, antibiotics can do more harm than good.

Treating infections is becoming increasingly more difficult. The overuse and misuse of antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance, which happens when the bacteria changes to survive antibiotics.

This can promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria–superbugs. Continue reading