Howard M. Heller, MD, MPH, Chief of Medicine, MIT Medical, dispels the hype and offers advice about the H1N1 flu in this two-minute video
There’s been a lot of hype over the last several months about H1N1, which some people are still calling the swine flu. One thing that it’s important to remember is that the H1N1 flu is very similar to the seasonal flu. It’s no more contagious, it’s no more fatal than the seasonal flu.
Should I get a flu shot?
Flu shot is very important. This year, we’re going to be having two different vaccines. One is the seasonal flu vaccine, just like we have every year. But in addition to that, we’re going to be having a vaccine specifically for the H1N1.
What precautions should I take?
The general principles that I’m sure everybody has heard about, are the hand-washing precautions, covering your mouth when you cough or when sneezing, because influenza – as well as a lot of the other respiratory viruses – are spread through respiratory secretions.
Stay home? You’re kidding.
At MIT, a lot of students, as well as faculty and other people, force themselves to go to work no matter how badly they’re feeling. We’re encouraging people who have the flu, especially if they are very sick, not to do that and to stay home and take care of yourself
Should I call my doctor?
If you’re not sure whether you should come in or if you can stay home, call. One of the doctors or nurses can advise you over the phone about whether it would be safe to stay home and rest up and try to recover, or if we think you should come in here to the Medical Department.
Certainly, if somebody is very sick, meaning high fevers — 103, 104 — if anybody is having any difficulty breathing — shortness of breath, pain in the chest, anything like that — it’s important to come in to be evaluated, to make sure that you don’t have pneumonia or another medical problem.
We can also reassure everyone that MIT and MIT Medical has enough resources to care for everybody within the MIT community.
To schedule a flu vaccine, call: 617-253-4865
Video produced by MIT Medical and MIT Academic Media Production Services