Raw video: Dr. Mask full interview on getting flu shot
WRAL's Joe Fisher spoke with Dr. Allen Mask about getting a flu shot and when the right time is to get it in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
We're joined by Dr Alan Mask today to talk a little bit about the flu season and flu shots and getting ready for the upcoming flu season. Doctor Mask. Thanks so much for joining us. Good to be here. I want to just talk about were in the beginning of September. Let's start simple. When is the flu season? When does that typically start? And why are we talking about it right now? In the beginning of September, we'll begin to see our first cases of the flu in late October. November typical flu season will run until May on May 1st. The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to get fully vested and ready to go. So we recommend that people get the flu shot starting right now. Are they managed facilities who have the flu vaccine available now, for example, of CDC recommended that we start giving flu shots in September. It takes two weeks for it to work, and so right now is they had no time for people to ah, get to get their vaccinations. I know a lot of people worry about getting the flu shot too early. A lot of people talk about you know the end of October being a better time because it'll last through, You know, February, March and April through the entire flu season. Is there any validity to that? I've talked to the infectious of these pressures about that specific recommendation in the CDC itself. Our expert says we should start sometimes in September. We've had that debate for many years saying, Let's get the flu shot later. So it last late into the flu season, but was so off bread that we won't capture people if we wait too late. And so we're telling people, you know, now is a good time to get the flu shot. October is a good time to get the flu shot, but we want you to be fully protected. We really recommend that everybody, if they're available right now to go ahead and get the shot right now, what exactly does the flu shot Dio? I know a lot of people you know here it's important. Get a flu shot. Ah, lot of people also are skeptical and they just maybe have never gotten a flu shot. There's a lot of people who don't go, so when you go to a pharmacy, or your local doctor, You get that flu shot? What is it doing for you? While the current flu vaccine contains two strains of influenza and two strains of influenza B, you have the expert to the World Health Organization, the CDC. We should get together, determine what the with the formulation should be for that particular vaccine. So the vaccine issue is what we call a quarter valin vaccine are the two strains of a two strings of the that we think will likely be what will face in the coming flu season. A lot of ah miss about the vaccine that the vaccine caused you to get the flu. I hear that all the time, but in fact that's just false. This is Ah, Dad attenuate embarrass, if you will in the vaccine, it will not give you the flu. And so the CDC and general recommends that everybody over the age of six months get the vaccine that includes normal people with no health problems. Includes particular people with underlying medical problems those just less than five years of age, those over the age of 65 those with weakened immune systems on diabetes, asthma, chronic heart disease are cancer on and remember because the CDC recommends it. Kids six infants six months and over to get the vaccine pregnant women should get the vaccine. Not only take themselves it also convey some protection to the baby that's about to be born as well, six months or older. Why is it so important for kids, especially to be vaccinated? Well, you know, kids are, ah, first of all, the harbingers of a lot of these infections that think One of the reasons that we're hoping we're going to see amount of flu season this year is that we've got a less kids going to day care less. Here's getting together and spread the infection. So we also know that these are youngsters have, ah, not completely developed immune system, miss Well, so are there at hard disk of not only Kenshin the food, but they're also at high risk of developing of the complications of flu, including pneumonia, meningitis and the forced the flu can be deadly in our country. Last the year, there was some 80 million people who died of complications of the flu. Some one million people are hospitalized, so the flu is not a bad cold. It's not a bad Sinus infection. The flu can be deadly, which is why, year after year, we really recommend that we do the simplest thing that we can do to prevent the flu. And that's to get the flu vaccine. The flu is obviously deadly. The Corona virus that we're dealing with is also certainly deadly. And we have seen that. How do these two viruses mix? And I think a lot of people have this question. Can you get both Covert 19 and the flu? Absolutely. The viruses can infect you, and one that does not protect you from the other. So you can get both an influence of vaccine influenza infection as well. Is that the core Corona viruses? Well, absolutely. And this is gonna be a difficult public health time for us coming up because these, you know, time periods will intersect. Uh, when we first began seeing cases of Corona virus, at least amount office back in early to mid March last year, case that we thought our work Corona virus cases. It was so difficult because we're still seeing lots of patients who were coming in with influence as well as time went on and doing the months of June, July and August. You typically you don't see the flu that when patients came in with a fever and cough and shortness of breath, were mainly worried about about the Corona Bart's now with the influenza season as well. We're gonna be scratching their heads, saying Guys in the cove in 19 Always in Flynn's, it's gonna be a over a difficult time for us to start that out. That's even more reason. Even more reason for us to go ahead and and to get the flu shot right now. Given some protection of the flu, shot is not 100%. Okay, we think it provides about 50 50 56 protect 50 56 50 to 60% perfect protection. But, uh, it's our best weapon. We have to fight influenza, so we think it's important for a people to get the shot as soon as possible. 50 to 60% protection against the flu, right? Exactly, and again the flu was deadly. But remember, we think the Corona viruses about 10 times more deadly, So we preached for years the dangers of the flu that the flu is not just a bad cold, but I should be worried about the influenza. You need to be 10 times ASSK concerned when you think about the Kobe 19. So I think our practitioners are or aware of this. We're thinking about this process. One good thing that I point out is that typically we looked with Seven Hemisphere is a predictor of what often this season will be life. They've had a mild flu season are down in countries like Australia, New Zealand and Chile. Way. Think that because of the measures that have been put in place for the covert 19 infection mass, where social distancing people working from home, kids not going to school, not being in daycares and so fourth restricting international travel. They've done a terrific job, and we've been pleasantly surprised and happy to see that they're seeing less flu they're doing this season. We certainly translates to us seeing a lesson from season here as well. But we can't count on that. We don't We don't We don't know that for sure. So we need Teoh to work and, uh, to make plans and be prepared. Tell me again when the height of the flu season ist while flu season The United States typically pizza, sometimes in February, so we'll begin to see some cases. Maybe in late October, November, December on. Then it really revs up in January and in February. That's when we really see lots of patients were coming in with flu. So January February and we'll see some cases into March. We'll see some cases into April, and typically the influences order a trail off, sometimes in early May. I'm just interested to talk symptoms because right now we still have, you know, a whole lot of people every single day testing positive for the Corona virus. Now we're heading into flu season, and I'm no doctor, but it seems like a lot of these symptoms. When we talk about, you know, fatigue and shortness of breath, they do overlap. Is that the case? And what should people do? You know, right in the heart of flu season, when maybe they're experiencing symptoms and they don't know what's going on? Well, it's gonna be very different. That's all part of the public health emergency that I'm referring to the symptoms of fever, cough, headache, shortness of breath that we can see with the winter winds are the very same thing that we see the cove in 19 as well. That's when I talk about their potential being a public health emergency when it comes to that. So we just want to be as prepared as we possibly can. And the thing that people could do right now is to get the flu shot. I I think the fundamentals are still stand that if you are sick, you develop those symptoms as much as possible. You want to stay home. You want to take a basic fever, reducing medications that keep itself well hydrated rather than dropping into your doctor's office using the telephone doing a telehealth? Is it telling medicine visit so before, so that you don't particularly affect other people as well as a thing to do. But I think that's when they will need to be great communication among health care providers and patients, particularly using telemedicine, using telephone and so forth, because the last thing we want you to do is to show up in the doctor's office and potentially infect other people. But I think good education campaigns like we're doing here right now, taking people away of what's going on in the community. I think that will mean a whole lot. What do you tell people who maybe want to get a flu shot? But they're not quite ready to go to the local pharmacy, their CVS, their target with their doctors office because they don't want to be in that setting for fear of Copan. So because of the one you know, pandemic that we're dealing with, they don't want to take care of the other virus that we deal with every single year. Is that going to be a problem? Do you think I think the doctor's offices and hospitals and pharmacies and so forth a. Really working hard to, ah, to protect patients? I was in my doctor's office earlier today, and they really were doing the social distance and they were checking patients. Temperatures are doing health histories product coming ahead. In the clinic itself, people were separated by at least 6 ft. There was lots of hand sanitizer and so forth available, and so I think people can be measured in what they do, and they could be safe doing that again. The vaccine is available. This is an ideal time to get the vaccine. Some people are afraid of the needle, you know. The whole injection lasts about two or three seconds. It does not hurt. Maybe we might see some little arm soreness in a minority of patients, but we've given thousands of flu shot. It's in my office over the years and we just haven't seen any complication. We still hear the stories admits about all I took the flu shot last minute made me sick. But the truth of the matter is, Is that again? It's a dead back. Soon it won't won't cause you to be sick. And now more than ever now more than ever, people really need Teoh. Pull up the sleeve and get this We shot. We keep hearing this term floating around called twinned emmick. That sounds very doomsday to me. You know, we're dealing with, of course, the pandemic that's been here in the United States since, um, you know, for about 67 months now, is twinned emmick doomsday? Or do you think that, you know, we could be prepared to be dealing with two very serious crises? What? We certainly hope not. That's while I keep calling it a potential American public health emergency because we certainly potentially could have that. It's ah, wonderful to hear that the December in the seven Hemisphere that they've had less of problems. And I think a lot of things that people are doing right now. The mask wearing the social distancing, washing your hands, stand home, working from home and so forth. We think all these are the fundamental measures that give us protection anyway, So by continuing these measures and hopefully we will, you know, damn down help, Potentate, you're forgetting a Corona pirates infection. Would Dan down out attention for getting to the flu as well. But But these you know, these recommendations are real. Experts are telling us that the mass wearing the social distancing and and using hand sanitizer and standing home when you're sick and working from home and so forth these things and they really work. And I'm happy to be here. I was talking to the infections with the specials earlier today about the Southern Hemisphere story that in those countries that flew seemed to be not as bad asses been any years heretofore. So. We're hoping that's a great predicted. Ferres is where we can't be sure that, but we'll continue to follow the fundamentals and hopefully we can get this grown of ours pandemic under control. And then hopefully about, well, damn down the potential negatives of, ah about welcoming flu season as well. Is there a difference in the flu shot that's given to, you know, kids who are six months or 18 years old or 65 years old? No. One that there's a standard of water veiling vaccine? Two strains of 80 strains would be We don't give the vaccine to kids under the age of six months. There's also a nasal spray that's available for individuals ages 2 to 49 that does contain a live virus of continuation of arrest, but it's still alive. Arrest. We don't give that, for example, to pregnant women of people who immuno compromised, but your doctor can talk with you about the best option is also sort of a hyper vaccine is available for people who ate 65 or over, but I tell all my patients get the standing vaccine if you ready to go right now. But the vaccine is available and ready for you to go ahead and get. You know the regular vaccine right now, but you're after your health care professional. Your pharmacist can talk with you about the various options Dr. Alan Masks. So you're telling everyone six months and older to get a flu shot that now is, you know, the time to get it done to be prepared for flu season. Anything else you wanted to add before we go? No, I think it's all about the fundamentals. You'll pass, Dribble, shoot. That's we tell our young basketball players and the same is here as well. Where your mass social distance. Make sure that you are coughing into your sleeve, that you're washing your your hands up often that you're using common sense and that this following the rules. I mean, this is not really rocket science, and I think it will just follow the fundamentals and take care of ourselves, and we'll take care about community as well. What's the biggest myth that you have heard over the years that just keeps continuing and keeps coming back that you really want to, you know, drive home? That is not true. It's just a net that the flu shot cause you to be sick. I've had all sorts of patients in my practice is So my aunt got the flu shot last year and she was the stick of the dog for two weeks. And I have a lot of well educated people who come in. I had a lorry. I can think I was in office. A plea was last year. Just what was convinced that she gets sick if she took the flu vaccine. It just just just doesn't you know, we have a responsibility our patients toe to tell them about particular medicine. And I can tell them that the side effective and and a body call it with the mice and can cause you to have some stomach upset, I can tell you that. You know, a Cody may give you a headache, you know? So I'm obligated to talk with you about side effects of any medication that we prescribed. But the flu shot again, it was use our own experience. We've been given flu shots for years and given thousands of them, and they simply don't according to be sick. And they can prevent you from getting a life threatening illness. Have you gotten your flu shot yet haven't got mind yet. You know, the CDC said, I'll get it in September, but I've got it on my list of things to do, and I don't I don't think it is too early, though. I think it's time to roll up, sleeves up, let's get out. And I know some doctors offices don't have the vaccine yet, but I know you and see hospital, for example, has it right? No, no. A lot of the far Mrs happened as well. So I just put on my calendar. Are the month of September can get it done during the month of September and stick to it? Or that would be ideal. Very good. Thanks so much for everything. We appreciate you joining us. My pleasure.