Global Diseases: Seasonal Flu

This week is the final episode looking at global diseases. In the fall every year, you probably see signs for flu shots. It’s a disease that we deal with every year, but there’s still a lot of questions that we had about it. What sickness actually is the flu? What does the flu shot do? How contagious is it? Why do we always get sick every winter? This week we talk with Dr. Mason Meyer, Michigan State’s pharmacist, to answer all our questions!

Note: we recorded this a while ago and a lot of the preparations for disease (like hospitals changing visiting policies) have gone into place!

Memorable Quotes

“The virus is really good a mutating. Every year is something different, something new. So, it’s always changing and it’s hard to keep up with it.”

“We try…to use what’s circulating in Australia or the southern hemisphere countries this this last winter for them and use that to predict what we’re going to have. It’s super hard because we’re just predicting and unless you get it perfectly right with every strain that’s going to go around, you’re going to have this mass spread.”

“[Flu shots] are really important and really easy to get… [The effectiveness] might seem low, but when you’re talking the whole population, that’s a lot of people.”

“Everyone six months and older should get a flu shot, with some exceptions…not everyone should get it, but you should at least talk to your doctor.”

“It’s a tiny portion of the flu. It’s letting your body create antibodies against it so then when the flu does come around, it will recognize that protein and say ‘OK, time to go’ and kill the virus before you ever know you have it.”

Resources

For more information, check out the CDC’s page for the flu.

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