UK HealthCare Experts Q & A: Protecting Yourself from Viral Illnesses like Flu & Coronavirus

UK HealthCare Experts Q & A: Protecting Yourself from Viral Illnesses like Flu & Coronavirus

Hi I’m Amy Jones Timoney from the
University of Kentucky good afternoon and welcome to this QA about viral
illnesses such as the Corona Virus and the flu we are very fortunate today to
be joined by Kim Blanton and Dr. Derrick Forrester thank you guys so much for
being with us today. It’s a very important topic and I know we are having
some internet issues across campus so I’m sorry if you’re not able to see this
live but if you do have questions that you want answered and you’re watching a
recording of this just be sure to put those questions in the comments and
we’ll try to figure out a way to get responses to you that way. So first of
all if both of you would mind to just tell us a little bit about yourselves
and your roles here at UK. KB: So I’m Kimberly Blanton,
I am the Nursing Operations Administrator with oversight at UK
healthcare for all of the infection prevention and control programs our
cardiovascular service line and our interventional services. DF: I’m Derrick
Forrester, I’m one adult infectious disease doctors I also serve as the
hospital just the medical director for infection prevention and control. AT: I know
that viral illnesses have really been a topic for people not just around the
world in the country but right right here in Lexington and on campus so I
know a lot of people do have questions. One that we’re seeing quite a bit is
just kind of what is the Corona Virus and who is at greatest risk of
contracting? it. DF: Yeah so it’s important to note first and foremost at Corona
Viruses and family of viruses and so Corona Virus circulates readily every
year in the U.S. but what we’re worried about now is this
novel Corona Virus or name novel 2019 Corona Virus that had its origins in
Wuhan City, China. So it’s a family of viruses circulates just by itself it
causes a lot of you know upper-respiratory type
infections this novel former Corona Virus has been associate with more
severe disease and that’s what’s got most people concerned. AT: What’s the best
way for us to protect ourselves from getting sick just in general?
DF: Yeah well certainly I mean you kind of talked about flu and the intro there
certainly there are vaccines that are available for influenza and so that’s
certainly something we recommend for everybody now CDC recommends everybody
get a seasonal flu shot every year. so that’s first and foremost for flu.
For general respiratory infections I mean I think it’s important to be
cautious about you know your surroundings and know what’s going on
know what flu activity and rates and stuff are in your area and then if you
are symptomatic to make sure you’re covering your cough covering your sneeze,
and really if you’re if you’re sick certainly if you’re sick with fever it’s
best to stay home as well. AT: Any other tips KB: No that’s why I was gonna say so I
think what we tell people to be healthy you know you’ve got to get good rest
stay hydrated, but then when you start feeling bad it’s best to stay home and
and take care of yourself. AT: Since you brought up the flu I think one question
that a lot of us have is is it too late to get a flu shot at this point? KB: It’s
never too late to get a flu shot. DF: Yeah I agree
still flu activity is actually still very very high in Kentucky and very high
nationally so there are still reasons in time to get a flu vaccine. KB: Yep and here
on campus I know that the University Health Services still has flu vaccines
available there actually I believe doing a free clinic on Thursday so there’s
opportunity there and then if you call and make an appointment you can
absolutely still get a flu shot. Employee Health offers those for employees as
well so there is still lots of opportunity to get one. AT: So lots of
options KB: Absolutely. AT: Well I think some people are
also asking if they should wear a mask if they experience symptoms what’s your
best advice when it comes to masks? KB: So we don’t necessarily recommend a mask for
everything so it really depends on your symptoms it’s important
as Dr. Forrester said to be sure that if you’re coughing and sneezing that
you’re covering your cough and sneezing and really worrying about your hand
hygiene those are things that I think are most important. Now of course we are
in flu restriction at the hospital due to the increase in flu in our community,
and so we do recommend a mask if you are not vaccinated there and so those
employees are wearing a mask but it’s not something we just say oh you have a
symptom wear a mask. So it really depends on what’s going on with you. DF: No I agree. You know we would certainly want to make sure people are able to kind of
cover their coffin secretions and and be cautious about that and use hand hygiene.
Alcohol-based hand rubs are very good and are effective against influenza and
coronaviruses and those are the respiratory illnesses so hand hygiene
cannot be underestimated. AT: And what is the rule about washing your hands? Is there
like a certain amount of time that you should do it? KB: We usually teach that
with hand sanitizer it’s usually about 15 seconds we teach people to sing the
Happy Birthday song because that gets you through the motion but you want to
keep rubbing until it’s dry and then really do a good scrub. It also comes
back to the friction getting in between your fingers around your thumb your nail
beds etc and so that’s really important when you do hand hygiene.
You know we remind people to wash your hands before you eat when you go to the
bathroom you know you’re touching doorknobs all day we just cannot
overstate how important it is to be cognizant of hand hygiene. AT: So how
prevalent our viral illnesses? DF: Very prevalent.
You know to put a number to I’m a CC it puts estimates out every year about
influenza and so generally speaking on a yearly basis during the epidemic part of
the flu season about 50 million Americans will probably have influenza
at some point in time during the season. So that’s you know 15 to 20 percent
maybe 15 percent of the population that’s just influenza. Obviously, you can
probably double that for respiratory infections in general. So as a whole
they’re very common this time of year AT: Did you want to add anything?
KB: No I agree. We typically always see an increase in flu and then we if it
comes to respiratory viruses as well. AT: So people have more questions about just
other health related issues it can be about these kinds of illnesses or
anything where should they go? KB: So I think when you think about the novel
coronavirus even the flu the CDC is a great place to start they have updated
FAQ’s and then they’re here on campus the UK now there’s some wonderful FAQ’s
therefor the coronavirus you can find information on student health, and in the
employee health site and even with if you’re in the hospital setting we have
in the loop we send out regular emails about that and then on our web page for
the infection control. So there’s opportunity there to to do some more
investigation and answer some of your questions. AT: So on campus the most updated
information is going to be on? KB: For the corona virus right now in the UK now.
AT: Okay great. Is there anything that we haven’t
covered or that we haven’t had questions about that that you all just think is
really important that that campus should know. DF: Well I’ll get back to what you guys
were just talking about. I think it’s really important to know where to go for
information and accurate information there are there’s a ton of stuff out
there right now about novel coronavirus that’s being reported in the media and
it’s just easy to get lost in that sea of information and so knowing where to
go with information is reputable. Just to kind of you know it is important to be
aware and be knowledgeable but you don’t obviously want to get in a state of
hysteria or panic over this because the risk overall is very very low for the
U.S. AT: To people who ask which is more dangerous what do you what do you say to
that? DF: As a comparison from flu to coronavirus you mean? Yeah I so you know some
perspective here right so influenza like I said about 50 million cases a year
usually around 30 to 50 thousand deaths associated from influenza every year in
the United States you know some perspective for that then.
The death rate of influenza is about 0.1% so just looking at the numbers
obviously flu a much bigger deal and is still the priority right now for the U.S.
and where we are. AT: So it’s not necessarily what is more dangerous it’s being aware
of of all of these viral illnesses that can write how to protect ourselves right.
So just to review the number one thing that people can do to protect themselves
from viral illnesses? KB? Oh I think it’s hand hygiene and being aware of your
surroundings and being sure that if you’re feeling ill that you stay home.
Don’t spread those germs and take care of yourself. DF: If your flu get your flu
shot KB: Absolutely okay AT: And I think we will also
be talking about some more of those places where you can get your free flu
shot you mentioned on campus Thursday. KB: I’ve seen signs today that Thursday the
University Health Services is offering flu vaccine but you can absolutely like
I said call get an appointment some of our retail pharmacist pharmacies offer
flu vaccines in town there’s the Walgreens and the different pharmacies
there that you can get flu vaccines. AT: Anything else you all want to say? Okay
well thank you so much for taking the time today to talk about this very
important topic and again. If you have any questions about corona virus or the
flu or other types of viral illnesses please be sure to leave your question in
the comments on our YouTube channel and we will get you those answers thank you
so much for joining us.

3 Replies to “UK HealthCare Experts Q & A: Protecting Yourself from Viral Illnesses like Flu & Coronavirus”

  1. If you have any questions you'd like for us to ask Dr. Forester or Kim Blanton, comment those here and we will pass them along.

  2. The livestream has ended. If you have questions that were not answered, comment them here and we will answer those.

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