RX FOR FIGHTING THE FLU

The flu outbreak across the nation has arrived in the tri-state area. So how do we protect ourselves? Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, deputy commissioner for the Division of Disease Control at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, joins us to share his prescription for winning the fight against the dangerous virus.

 

Aired on January 25, 2018

 

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

ACCORDING TO THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, IN ITS 13 YEARS OF MONITORING THE FLU, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME EVERY PART OF THE CONTINENTAL U.S. HAS SHOWN WIDESPREAD ACTIVITY.

WE ARE IN AN HEPIDEMIC.

HERE IN NEW YORK CITY, WE HAVE ST SEEN A STAGGERING NUMBER OF DIAGNOSES, BUT VERY FEW HOSPITALIZATIONS.

5,092 RESIDENTS HAVE CONTRACTED THE ILLNESS.

THAT'S 378 FEWER CASES THAN LAST SEASON.

BUT 2,165 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ADMITTED TO HOSPITALS, AND THAT'S 359 MORE.

THESE ARE ALL LAB CASES WHICH MEANS THE ACTUAL NUMBERS COULD BE EVEN HIGHER AS MANY NEW YORKERS CHOOSE TO SUFFER AT HOME WITHOUT SEEING A DOCTOR.

AND HERE WITH TIPS ON HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST GETTING THIS SEASON'S FLU IS DR.

DMITRI DASCOLOKUS.

FIRST AND FOREMOST, LET'S GET OUT OF THE WAY, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COLD AND THE FLU, BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE A HARD TIME TELLING THE DIFFERENCE.

YOU'LL KNOW WHEN YOU HAVE THE FLU GENERALLY, BECAUSE IT'S TENDS TO BE A PRETTY SEVERE ILLNESS.

FLUS ARE CAUSED BY FLU VIRUSES, COLDS ARE CAUSED BY MANY, MANY VIRUSES.

COLDS CAN HAVE UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS LIKE COUGHING AND SNEEZING.

BUT THE FLU CAN KNOCK YOU OUT FOR THREE OR FOUR DAYS AND CAN LEAD TO SOME PRETTY SERIOUS COMPLICATIONS IF YOU HAVE AN UNDERLYING CONDITION.

IS IT TOO LATE TO GET THE FLU SHOT?

IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO GET THE FLU SHOT.

THERE'S DIFFERENT STRAINS OF FLU THAT WILL CIRCULATE AT DIFFERENT TIMES OF THE YEAR.

IF YOU TAKE A FLU SHOT AND YOU GET THE FLU, YOU GENERALLY HAVE A LIGHTER FORM OF THE FLU.

EVEN IF IT DOESN'T PREVENT YOU FROM GETTING IT, IT CAN PREVENT YOU FROM GETTING EXTRAORDINARILY SICK FROM IT.

ONE OF THE PUSH BACKS I HEAR FOR PEOPLE IN THE WANTING TO GET THE FLU SHOT, WELL, IF I GET THE FLU SHOT, I GET SICK.

THERE'S REALLY NO POINT IN GETTING THE FLU SHOT.

I TALK TO MY PATIENTS ABOUT FLU SHOTS IN OCTOBER, NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER, WHAT DO YOU GET IN OCTOBER, NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER?

COLDS.

SOME PEOPLE WILL GET THE FLU SHOT AND GET A SNIFFLE OR A COUGH AND IT'S NOT THE FLU.

THE FLU SHOT IS NOT AN ACTIVE VIRUS.

CAN IT GIVE YOU MAKE YOU FEEL A LITTLE BIT FATIGUED THE NEXT DAY, YES.

BUT IT'S NOT THE FLU.

H

HOW IS IT TRANCE MIDED?

IT CAN BE TRANSMITTED THROUGH DROPLETS, THROUGH RESPIRATORY SECRETIONS.

EVERYBODY'S IMAGINING THEIR SUBWAY TRIP RIGHT NOW.

SO THAT'S A GOOD REASON TO GET THE FLU SHOT, BUT ALSO IT CAN BE TRANSMITTED ON SURFACES.

SO THE SUBWAY POLE?

SO ONE GOOD WAY TO PREVENT THE FLU IS GOOD HAND HYGIENE AND TRY NOT TO TOUCH THINGS THAT OTHER PEOPLE TOUCH.

AND THE OTHER THING IS, IF YOU GET SICK, DON'T WAIT.

IT'S WORTHWHILE GOING TO SEE A MEDICAL PROVIDER BECAUSE THERE ARE MEDICINES YOU CAN BE PRESKP PRES PRESCRIBED, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A WEAKENED IMMUNE SYSTEM, YOU CAN GET OVER IT QUICKER.

THIS IS NOT A FLU SEASON THAT'S THAT DIFFERENT FROM OUR OTHER FLU SEASONS SO FAR.

SO THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF CONVERSATION ABOUT THIS FLU SEASON MAINLY BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS ACTIVE ALL AT ONCE, EVERYBODY HAS HIGH FLU ACTIVITY.

ALL OF NEW YORK STATE HAS IT.

THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT NEW YORK STATE IS REPORTING POTENTIALLY HIGHER HOSPITALIZATIONS.

IN A CITY LIKE NEW YORK CITY WHERE SO MANY PEOPLE ARE FREELANCERS, AND FOR FREELANCERS, TIME IS MONEY, SO IF THEY'RE GOING TO FEEL SICK, THEY SAY I'M GOING TO POWER THROUGH, I'M GOING TO GO TO WORK, I'M JUST GOING TO GET THROUGH IT.

WHEN IS THE TIME TO JUST GO TO THE DOCTOR?

YOU'VE TAKEN THE SCRIPT FROM MY PATIENTS.

SO TWO HOURS TO GO TO AN URGENT CARE PROVIDER IS MUCH BETTER THAN FIVE DAYS IN BED.

IF YOU'RE A FREELANCER AND YOU GET THE FLU AND YOU'RE STUCK NOT BEING ABLE TO DO YOUR BUSINESS BECAUSE YOU'RE STUCK AT HOME WITH FEVERS AND SHAKES AND FEELING TERRIBLE.

IT'S WORTH THAT EXTRA LITTLE EFFORT TO REDUCE THE DURATION OF OUR FLU SYSTEMS BY A LITTLE BIT.

IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE FLU, WHY IS IT THAT A COLD CAN LINGER AND START TO FEEL AND LOOK, MORE IMPORTANTLY, TO YOUR CO-WORKERS LIKE YOU HAVE THE FLU?

COLD VIRUSES, FLU VIRUSES, THEY ALL CAN DO SOMETHING VERY SIMILAR, WHICH IS THE INFLAMMATORY SORT OF STUFF THAT HAPPENS WITH AN INFECTION CAN LINGER ON WAY PAST THE INFECTION.

OKAY.

SO I THINK THAT WHAT HAPPENS IS PEOPLE WILL GET LIKE A LITTLE VIRAL BRONCHITIS, VERY MILD, AND WHAT HAPPENS IS THAT LASTS FOR A LONG TIME.

SO THAT COUGH THAT GOES ON FOR A LONG TIME AFTER A COLD OR A FLU, CAN BE JUST THE LEFT OVER OF YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM TRYING TO FIGHT THAT COLD OR FLU AWAY.

I THINK WE'LL LEAVE IT ON THE THIS TOO SHALL PASS NOTE.

THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

DOCTOR, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US AND GIVING US SOME CLARIFY THROUGH THE FOG OF ALL THE SNEEZING AND THE COUGHING ABOUT THIS SEASON'S FLU.

THANK YOU.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019