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Commentary- Project Community Immunity: Are you all in?

Commentary- Project Community Immunity: Are you all in?
September 27
15:00 2018

By Ahunna Freeman

As the temperatures cool and the weather changes, cough/cold season will be upon us before we know it. 

In the cooler temperatures, we see more cases of the common cold and the not so lovely strands of the influenza virus (commonly known as “the flu”).  How we prepare for what is ahead will dictate how disruptive these cases of ailments turn out. 

Currently, many pharmacies, clinics, hospitals and health departments around the country are preaching the “Get your Flu Shot” message.  Some establishments offer to administer them upon every initial encounter and most insurance policies cover flu shot at no cost.  Our local communities in Winston-Salem are no exception to the trend.  As a local community healthcare provider, it is in my interest to protect my patients and the public alike.  There are no secrets that some individuals are completely against receiving the annual flu vaccine due to personal reasons that we may or may not all collectively agree on. 

However, we can all collectively agree that a healthy community is part of our responsibilities and we should be accountable in building a healthy space of existence.  In other words, whether you plan to get the flu shot or not, there is still a role to be played in Project Community Immunity this flu season. 

Community immunity can be achieved by vaccination and/or intentionally taking precautions to avoid infection transmission to self or to others.  When enough community members are vaccinated, the severity and cases of illness are drastically decreased.  There is also evidence that community members whose immune system may be compromised due to age (e. g newborns) or chronic illnesses (e. g cancer, lung disease, heart disease etc.) are protected through community immunity. 

Here are some suggestive ways to contribute to this season’s project community immunity:

*Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze with a tissue; cover with inside of your arm if no tissues available.

*Properly wash your hands often with soap and water.

*Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

*Stay away from others suspected to be sick with the flu.

*Stay hydrated (preferably with water).

*Practice healthy habits.

*“GET YOUR FLU SHOT” if you are able.

Since it is known that having the flu is never fun, are we all in on Project Community Immunity???

Dr. Ahunna Freeman is a board certified geriatric pharmacist and the clinical director at Southside Discount Pharmacy in Winston-Salem.  She can be reached at DrFreeman@nullSouthsideDiscountRx.com or at (336) 830-8774.

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