Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco Medical Center
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Flu Prevention is Actually Simple
It's time to start preparing for winter. And that means understanding influenza, otherwise known as the flu. Kaiser Permanente doctor Randy Bergen, MD, is the clinical lead for the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Influenza Task Force. In this interview, Dr. Bergen shares the strategy for preventing influenza and why people can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine.
What's the number 1 strategy we can all use to prevent the flu?
Get the vaccine. It continues to be the most effective, safest way to prevent the flu. For every 61 doses of the vaccine, 1 hospitalization or death was prevented.
What about hand washing?
Basic hygiene such as washing your hands and covering your cough will protect you against all germs. Everyone should practice good hygiene, however, the vaccine is the best protection.
What's one of the biggest misconceptions about the vaccine?
People mistakenly believe that they can get sick from the vaccine. The vaccine is made by growing the virus and extracting certain parts to go into the vaccine. It's just a piece of the germ. It can cause your arm to be sore, and that can lead to general achiness, but to get seriously sick is not possible.
The other part is that the term "flu" has been used more generally, and we are not always sick with the flu. The vaccine protects against a specific winter virus, and there are plenty of other viruses (like colds) out there that the vaccine doesn't protect you against. It is coincidence when someone gets sick around the same time they receive the vaccine. Antibodies are the agents that fight off the flu germs, so the flu vaccine isn't as effective during the first two weeks. That's why we encourage people to get the flu shot in October and November before flu season hits.
Welcome To South San Francisco Medical Center
Kaiser Permanente has been providing health care in South San Francisco and its surrounding areas since 1949. Our medical center includes our hospital and several outpatient facilities. We hope you find this website informative and helpful in learning about the health care services we provide.
In our accredited hospital, we provide a wide range of specialized services including cardiology, head and neck surgery, and musculoskeletal surgery. Members from Northern California travel to our Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence and at our Cancer Treatment Center . Services such as pharmacies, laboratories, and x-ray/radiology are all conveniently located near our hospital or outpatient medical offices to make it easy for you to access the care you need.
To serve our members and our community better, we are constantly updating and improving our facilities and services. The hospital was honored for its safety and efficiency, and named a 2010 and 2011 Leapfrog Top Hospital.
Frank T. Beirne, FACHE
Sheila Gilson, RN
John Skerry, MD