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Anchor lead: Which type of flu vaccine is best for you? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Vaccines for the flu come in several varieties, and you likely need an expert’s opinion to decide which is right for you. That’s according to Clare Rock, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins.

Rock: There are different types of flu vaccines. There is a shot or injection type of vaccine that people can get at their doctor’s office or pharmacy. And there is also a nasal spray flu vaccine that’s available for certain populations this year and so I would encourage people when they’re going for their vaccine to have that discussion at their doctor’s office or at their pharmacy to see which vaccine is best for them.   :27

Rock says the nasal spray may be good for those who don’t like needles, and there’s also a stronger version of the injectable vaccine for those over the age of 65. This vaccine boosts the immune response for better protection in older people since the immune response declines as we age. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey. 

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Anchor lead: Who should get the flu vaccine? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Do you need to get the flu vaccine? According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yes, you do. Clare Rock, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Rock: Really it’s is there anybody that shouldn’t get the flu vaccine? It’s indicated for everybody that’s six months of age or older. There are certain groups of people that are higher risk are more likely to benefit from the flu vaccine. They are those over the age of six months but under the age of five or six, those that are over 65 years of age, those that are pregnant, and then really anybody with any medical condition.  :27

Rock says anyone with lung or heart disease is at heightened risk not only to get the flu but also to be susceptible to other infections, such as pneumonia, that may follow. She says even those with egg allergies may be able to be vaccinated, so talk with your healthcare provider. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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Anchor lead: Is it possible to get the flu from the flu vaccine? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Flu vaccines prevent the flu, and cannot actually give someone the infection. Reports that the flu vaccine causes the flu are the stuff of urban legend, says Clare Rock, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins.

Rock: This is really a myth. We can’t get the flu virus from the vaccine. When people do feel that they’re having some minor aches after the vaccine what that is is your immune system having a huge response to inactive flu viruses. This is much much less symptomatically than it ever would be if one actually had the influenza virus. It’s really the body priming itself so that if you do come in contact with the influenza virus, your body is ready to try and fight it off. :33

Rock says getting the vaccine as soon as possible is smart since it will take a few weeks for you to build up antibodies against the virus. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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Anchor lead: Flu viruses can catch up with you almost anywhere, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Now that flu season has arrived, there is a risk you can pick up the infection from almost any surface someone with the flu has sneezed or coughed on. That’s according to Clare Rock, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins.

Rock: The virus can persist on surfaces. If you were to touch those surfaces those viruses can be transferred to your hands, and if you were then to touch your mouth or your nose or even sometimes your eyes, that virus can be transmitted to you and you can catch influenza virus. That really is the importance of making sure that we’re doing frequent hand hygiene, and making sure that if we are sick with influenza that we’re not going to work where we could be transmitting the virus potentially.  :30

Rock emphasizes cough etiquette, using a tissue or your elbow to sneeze or cough into so you don’t spread your viruses around. She says most people produce viruses for 6 or 7 days when they’re infected. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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Anchor lead: The flu season has arrived in the northern hemisphere, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Have you gotten your flu shot yet? Clare Rock, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, says it’s past time to do so.

Rock: Flu season is starting and we’re starting to see our first few cases of flu and likely going to ramp up very quickly over the coming weeks. The most important message is to go get vaccinated.  :10

Rock says while there are a few medicines to treat the flu, it’s still better to get the vaccine, since it protects against the disease until the season is over in late spring.

Rock: We do have some medicines that are antivirus-type medicines that can help fight against the flu. But ideally they need to be taken within the first couple of days of symptoms, so really prevention is always better than cure, so focusing more on getting the flu vaccine now, as opposed to waiting for symptoms to treat is really the best strategy.  :21

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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Anchor lead: Pinpointing the cause of vaping related deaths is hampered by what is in vaping solutions, Elizabeth Tracey reports

We don’t know what’s in many vaping solutions, and we don’t have the regulatory tools to compel ingredients to be disclosed. That’s according to Enid Nepture, a lung expert and tobacco activist at Johns Hopkins.

Neptune: We don’t currently have a way of forcing the manufacturers to tell us what’s in these products before they actually go on the market. We don’t have a model for what to expect when these products are heated and delivered to the airway. We may be looking at multiple different substances that are delivered in multiple different solutions that are causing not simply one type of lung injury but a variety of different forms of lung injury. :31

In late October 2019 there were 34 reported deaths due to vaping and thousands of injuries and hospitalizations, largely among young people. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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Anchor lead: A lack of knowledge led to our current vaping crisis, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Do e-cigarettes help people to stop using combustible cigarettes? Enid Neptune, a lung expert and tobacco activist at Johns Hopkins, says because the answer to that question was not known, the stage was set for vaping to become the public health crisis among youth we are currently witnessing.

Neptune: This issue was both preventable and entirely predictable. We knew that there was a signal among youth I think soon after these products were first introduced with the flavorings. We also knew there was a heightened interest in the way that these products were being marketed. The challenge was that the regulatory environment held out the hope that these products may have some role in helping certain adults stop smoking.  :31

Neptune hopes that current bans on flavored vaping liquids continue even as lawmakers craft more protective legislation. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.