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CDC Reports a Dangerous Flu Season. Protect Yourself.

 flu

Written by Dr. Perry Pong

Communities across the country have been hit with a strong and dangerous flu season. The CDC and NY State Department of Health are reporting that many more people have been to the doctor, ER or hospital this season for flu than last year. Those at high risk for serious disease include those over the age of 50, children, pregnant women and people with certain chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, lung disease, and heart disease. Many more people are susceptible to this year’s predominant flu virus. While this year’s flu vaccine may not protect you as well as prior years—it is still a good idea to get the vaccine to try to have some protection. It is not too late to get the vaccine now. Also, if you believe that you have the flu (fever more than 100 degrees, body aches, headache, runny or stuffy nose and feeling weak and ill) and are moderately or very sick, see your doctor immediately. This is especially the case for people at high risk of complications. You can be prescribed antiviral flu medicine within the first two days of illness. The Health Center and CDC recommends these actions to protect your family from the flu or from spreading the flu:

  • Get the vaccine. Even if you get the flu after the vaccine, symptoms may be less.
  • Avoid being near people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water as much as possible
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, using a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that may have with germs like the flu, like doorknobs.
  • If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without a fever reducer) except to get medical care. Limit being around others to not spread the flu.
  • If you have the flu, talk to your doctor to see if you need medication.

You can learn more here about ways to protect yourself and loved ones from the flu. If you believe you may have the flu, call the Health Center for an appointment at (212) 379-6998.

Dr. Pong is the chief medical officer at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. He received his medical degree from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, and completed his residency training at Veterans Affairs Medical Center New York. Dr. Pong is board-certified in internal medicine.

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Sexual Health Month – Protect Your Child From HPV

sexual health

Written by Dr. Carolyn Chang

For National Sexual Health Month, we want to talk about the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection among both women and men. There are many different types of HPV. While some are harmless, others can lead to cancer in the cervix, genital warts, or infections of the mouth and throat. HPV is the most common cause of cervical cancer.

How do I get HPV?

HPV is spread during vaginal, oral, or anal sex with an infected partner. There are often no symptoms, so you may not even know if you are infected.

Can I prevent HPV and cervical cancer?

Yes! The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that are most likely to lead to cervical cancer and genital warts. The vaccine, which is given as a series of 3 injections over 6 months, has been tested to be safe and effective, with no serious side effects. The HPV vaccine is recommended for all girls and boys ages 11 or 12. It may be given starting at age 9, and even if you were not vaccinated as a child, you can still receive the vaccine until age 26. To learn more about the HPV vaccine, check out this great info-sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Why do children need this vaccine when they are so young?

The HPV vaccine is more effective when given to girls and boys before they start having sex and are potentially exposed to HPV. This gives them more time to build up protection from HPV infection.

Should boys also get vaccinated?

Yes! Boys are also at risk for HPV infection and can and should be vaccinated. Boys can receive the HPV vaccine until the age of 26, if they were not previously vaccinated.

Talk to your doctor or your child’s doctor for more information about the vaccine. If your child is a patient of the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, make an appointment to have your child vaccinated today.

To learn more about sexual health, you can check out some of our resources online. You can view them here.

Written by Dr. Carolyn Chang. Dr. Chang is a pediatrician at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She received her medical degree from Washington University, and completed her residency training from Albert Einstein College of Medicine-Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. Dr. Chang is certified through the American Board of Pediatrics.