According to health officials, the flu season has already returned, and with it the flu shot dilemma.
This year’s vaccine provides protection from both A and B influenza viruses, as well as the H1N1 strain, which is commonly known as “swine flu.”
Jennifer King, a spokesperson for the North Georgia Health District, said “As of now, we’re not aware of any unusual flu activity for our area; however, that status could change at any time.”
She added that the unpredictable nature of the flu is “all the more reason why it’s important residents protect themselves against the flu by getting vaccinated and by maintaining proper hygiene such as frequent hand washing, keeping hands away from the face, and covering coughs and sneezes.”
Other experts, such as Dr. Amy Hardin believe that “now is the perfect time” to be vaccinated. The vaccine takes two to three weeks to effectively immunize the body, and so it is wise to begin the process before the flu gets a strong hold on the season.
Clinics throughout New York and beyond are now fully stocked with the flu vaccine, and are offering them to all patients.
A recent analysis published by Hunter College professors revealed that more than 500 New York City residents suffer severe injuries after being struck by cyclists. Though the number seems small in comparison to the number of pedestrians injured by cars, it has been growing rapidly over recent years.
The survey studied hospital data from the State Department of Health gathered between 2007 and 2010. Results showed that 1,000 pedestrians were treated at hospitals every year after being hit by cyclists, 55% of whom were residents of New York.
An additional study, conducted by Professors Peter Tuckel and William Milczarski, found that the number of pedestrians treated in hospitals annually was not much higher than 1,000. Dr. Tuckel explains that these figures represent “the tip of the iceberg,” because they list only the pedestrians who ended up at the hospital, and not those who then visited a doctor’s office or clinic.
Recent studies have indicated that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-smoking campaign may actually have had an effect on the city.
In 2010, 14% of adults said they were smoking, down from 22% in 2002. In other words, the number of cigarette smokers in New York has been reduced by 450,000. City health officials have also noted that the smoking rate amongst public high school students has dropped 9% over the past decade.
“A 7% smoking rate among kids- holy cow,” Russel Sciandra said to the New York Times. “Having this new generation coming up with much lower smoking rates than you’ve ever seen historically is what’s really pulling down the rate, and of course that promises great things for the future.”
In 2003, Mayor Bloomberg banned smoking in bars and restaurants, and in May of last year the ban was put on parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas as well.
In a recent report from the Joint Commission (America’s leading hospital accreditation board), a list was revealed of the top 405 health clinics to have responded to health issues like pneumonia and a heart attack. The idea of the list was to find out which clinics were best prepared to deal with these situations. Unfortunately the news wasn’t great. Most of the hospitals in America with the top reputations (including John Hopkins) weren’t on the list.
Despite this, there have in general been improvements in how patient care facilities have responded over the last few years. Over 12 million treatments were assessed and it was found that on a staggering 97 percent of occasions, hospitals followed directives correctly. In 2002 this figure was only 82 percent.