As the dog days of summer end and the cool mornings of fall creep in, we enter one of the deadliest times of the year, flu season. Although summer is still a fresh memory, it doesn’t stop signs of flu season from appearing.
Last season in Pennsylvania, more than 121,300 cases of the fu were reported between October 2017 and May 2018. Of those reported, 256 of those cases ended in death, which marks a record for the state of Pennsylvania.
These haunting statistics have resulted in many healthcare professionals to bring the importance of getting a flu vaccine. Although we can’t predict how bad this season will be, health experts urge that avoiding a flu shot is not worth the gamble.
To feel more prepared for the upcoming flu season, here few things you will want to know:
Get a flu vaccine at the beginning of the season.
One of the best ways to not get the flu is to get the vaccine at the very beginning of the season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a normal flu season runs from October until May and peaks between December and February.
After getting vaccinated, it can take up to two weeks for your body to develop the antibodies to protect you from the flu. In general, the CDC recommends getting a vaccine by the end of October.
You can’t get the flu from a flu shot.
This is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to a flu shot. When a flu shot is administered with a needle the vaccine is made in one of two ways:
- The virus is inactive and therefore not infectious
- The flu vaccine contains no virus at all
Whichever type of vaccine you get, you will not contract a virus. Common side effects from the shot include soreness, tenderness, and redness at the injection site, as well as a low-grade fever, headache, and muscle ache. Although some may construe these effects as flu symptoms, they are not anything to worry about.
This year the nasal spray may be more effective.
In the past, the CDC has not recommended the nasal spray in replace of the shot. However, after a 2-year hiatus, the nasal spray has been approved for those between the ages of 2 to 49, and for women who are not pregnant.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, states that not while no vaccine is 100 percent effective, some protection is better than none at all.
To get a receive a flu vaccine for the 2018-2019 season visit your doctor or find a pharmacy near you.
For Martha Gipprich, a career in healthcare wasn’t something she decided to do but rather felt called to do. From the time she was in elementary school, Martha loved to help people and by the time she reached college she knew that healthcare was where she wanted to be. She attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she received her Bachelor of Health Sciences in May 2008 and then subsequently earned her Master’s of Physician Assistant in August 2009.
Currently, Martha is working at Sunrise Pediatrics in Reading, Pennsylvania as a Physician Assistant where she’s been since June 2016. Here she has a number of responsibilities as she works with both acute and chronic pediatric patients to help both evaluate and treat them. Martha handles reviewing and assessing all incoming patient results including lab tests, consults, and x-rays. She excels in fast-paced environments, and at Sunrise she sees up to 6 patients an hour to better serve the people in her care.
Prior to working at Sunrise Pediatrics, Martha Gipprich worked at Collegeville Medical Center from December 2014 to May 2016 as a full-time Physician Assistant and Office Manager. Here she balanced dual responsibilities that included working with clients and making sure the office was operating smoothly. She managed the healthcare staff and office, ordered office and medical supplies, and crafted successful weight loss and medicine protocol while also performing her duties as a Physician Assistant which included examining and evaluating patients, performing injections, and ordering diagnostic testing when necessary. She was also responsible for streamlining laboratory tasks like venipuncture, interpreting serum allergy tests, and processing blood and urine tests.
Previously, Martha worked for over a year as a Physician Assistant at Patient First Urgent Care in Pottstown, PA. While at Patient First, she met with an average of 4-5 patients an hour whom she diagnosed and treated across an array of medical needs include strep throat, fractured bones, and coronary syndromes.
Alongside her day to day work, Martha Gipprich’s natural inquisitiveness and eagerness to learn have prompted a love for research, as well. Through Drexel University, Martha has begun taking classes on clinical research in their Certificate of Study in Clinical Research Online program in the hopes of incorporating this into her profession in the future.
Outside of work, Martha is the proud mother of her one year old son, who she loves more than anything. Currently, Martha and her partner are renovating their home, which is taking up quite a bit of their time outside of work; when they do like to enjoy their downtime, they like vacationing in Asbury Park, NJ and visiting Longwood Gardens.