HPV – Who Should Get Vaccinated

Q: Who should receive the HPV Vaccine and why should they get it?

A: The HPV vaccine (Gardasil) is recommended for boys, girls, men, and women age 9 to 45.  HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical & vaginal cancer, penile cancer, anal cancer, and cancers of the mouth and throat.  It also causes genital warts.  Data shows that the immune system has a better response when it is given at a younger age.  Once a person is infected with HPV, they may remain infected with HPV long-term.  While the HPV vaccine can help prevent infection, the vaccine does not cure an infection that is already present, so it is most beneficial to get the vaccine long before becoming sexually active.  It is thus recommended to get the HPV vaccine at age 11-12 to provide maximum benefit.

Travel for the Holidays

Q: I know a lot of people who are traveling for the holidays, do you think that is safe?

A: Travel dramatically increases your chance of getting infected and infecting others and should be undertaken with caution. The CDC recommends you stay at home as much as possible and social distance. If you do decide to travel and take that risk to yourself and others, be aware that some communities within the United States may require visitors to quarantine themselves for 14 days upon entering the community or when returning home from a trip. When my family was in Africa and my grandmother could not come out to see us for Thanksgiving, she sent dozens of cookies packed in old Folgers cans. When we opened them up, it was if she was there. Please understand this is a temporary crisis we are having, and we will reunite in the same room with long hugs soon.

Flu Shot, Or Not?!

Q: Will getting a flu shot protect me from Covid-19?

A: The short answer is no; it will not prevent coronavirus. But the question is more complex. By getting a flu shot and helping to prevent yourself from catching the flu, you help lessen the load of an already overburdened healthcare system. Additionally, those who get a flu shot are helping to eliminate symptoms that might be suspected as COVID-19 and confusing folks into thinking they need to be off work, to have to stay away from their loved ones for extended periods of time, etc.  Getting your annual flu shot can keep yourself and everyone around you healthier.

Smoke Gets In My Eyes

Q: With all this smoke in the air, what can I do to in my home to help me and my family breath better? We try to stay inside as much as possible, but even that seems smokie.

A: There are several things you can do besides keeping your windows and doors closed. If you have a 20- inch box fan, purchase a 20- inch furnace filter and strap or bungee it to the box fan. This will help filter the air within your home. Also change the filter in your AC system more often.