All Posts tagged Can I control hot flashes

It’s Not Too Late to Get Your Flu Shot!

flu shotThis year’s flu season is on track to be the worst in nearly ten years—and it’s nowhere near over yet. According to a recent report by the Washington Post, Tens of thousands of Americans have been hospitalized so far, and 37 children have lost their lives battling this season’s flu epidemic. If you have been hesitant to get vaccinated, it’s time to reassess the reasons why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your doctor recommend the flu vaccine, and how it can minimize your chances of being another victim of this year’s dangerous flu strain.

What are the Symptoms of the Flu?

Flu symptoms tend to come on quickly and unexpectedly. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have contracted the flu. See your doctor as soon as possible for a diagnosis and treatment:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Severe muscle and joint pain
  • Fever, flushed skin
  • Headache
  • Dry cough
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Vomiting or diarrhea, often more common in children than adults

If you have any of the following symptoms, seek medical care immediately, as they could be an indication of a severe flu virus:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain in your chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Severe vomiting

What are the Benefits of the Flu Vaccine?

The CDC advises that the single best way to protect yourself from both falling ill from the flu and serving as a carrier is to get the flu vaccine each year. Approximately two weeks after the vaccine is administered, antibodies are developed in the body that protect against infection using the viruses in the vaccine. It is important to obtain a flu vaccine annually, because each year, the distributed vaccine is designed to guard against those virus strains that researchers believe will be most prevalent during the coming flu season. The more Americans who obtain a vaccination, the less the virus can spread across communities.

Isn’t It Too Late to Get Vaccinated Now?

You do not need to obtain a flu vaccine at the start of the flu season to be protected. While the flu season is typically considered to begin in October and last through May, obtaining a vaccine at any time during the flu season can still protect you and minimize your chances of becoming ill or spreading the illness to others.

I’m Pregnant. Can I Get the Flu Vaccine?

Pregnant women should be vaccinated against the flu, as it is their best form of protection against the virus. The flu can cause even more complications and severe symptoms in pregnant women. When pregnant, changes to your immune system, heart, and lungs make women more susceptible to viruses and infections such as the flu, which can result in hospitalization, and—in the most severe cases—death. The flu vaccine protects pregnant women during and after their pregnancy, and it also protects the baby from contracting the virus for several months after birth.

What Else Can I do to Prevent the Flu?

In addition to obtaining a flu vaccine, follow these tips to minimize your chances of contracting the flu:

  • Avoid exposures to anyone who is sick.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, as you could transfer germs you picked up on your hands into your body.
  • Keep surfaces in your home and office clean and disinfected.
  • If you have children who go to school, keep items that travel from the classroom to the house sanitized as well, such as toys, lunch bins, and other objects.
  • Take care of yourself by getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of water, eating a balanced diet of fresh, healthy foods, staying physically active, and managing stress.

If you do contract the flu virus, be diligent not to spread the vaccine to others. Stay home, do not go to work, cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, and avoid contact with others.

If you feel you may have contracted this year’s flu strain, contact your doctor for an appointment.


Help! I’m on Fire and Don’t Know Why!

Caution - Hot Flashes AheadYou’re having an ordinary day when suddenly an overwhelming sensation of heat starts to creep up your neck and into your face. You start to feel a tingling sensation in your fingertips, and as your face starts to flush and beads of sweat form along your brow, you realize that your heart rate has escalated too. Unless you’re playing beach volleyball on a 90 degree day in Miami, you may be experiencing a hot flash. For many women, hot flashes are one of the most uncomfortable symptoms of menopause and perimenopause (the period of time directly preceding the onset of menopause). It is not clear exactly what causes hot flashes but it is believed that the sensations of overwhelming heat are due to hormonal changes that occur in a woman’s body or to changes in circulation. While you may not be able to avoid hot flashes completely during perimenopause and menopause, knowing what triggers them and how to manage your symptoms can help ease the discomfort.

Women may experience hot flashes for only a few months during perimenopause, or for several years. Common triggers for hot flashes vary for each woman, but commonly, momentary hot flashes can be brought on by:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Eating spicy foods
  • Being located in a warm room
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Wearing tight clothing
  • Tobacco products or exposure to second hand smoke

Take note of when your hot flashes occur and try to identify the specific triggers that you are most susceptible to so that you can try to avoid them in the future. If you can’t control when your hot flashes occur, know that you can still manage your discomfort when a hot flash begins. Some simple strategies to help manage your symptoms include:

  • Dressing in layers
  • Sipping ice water when you feel a hot flash coming on
  • Applying an ice pack to your neck and chest to help lower your body temperature
  • Keeping your bedroom cool at night
  • Using fans to circulate the air around you
  • Wearing cotton, a breathable fabric, at night, and using cotton bed linens
  • Regular exercise
  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Practicing deep, slow, abdominal breathing
  • Meditation
  • Routine acupuncture treatments

For women who feel a more aggressive treatment is needed to manage their symptoms, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be an option. HRT uses estrogen supplements to help normalize hormone levels and reduce the incidence of severe hot flashes and night sweats. Other prescription treatments for hot flashes include:

  • Low-doses of anti-depressants
  • Clonidine, a blood pressure medication
  • Gabapentin, an anti-seizure medication
  • Brisdelle or Duavee, medications created specifically to treat hot flashes

Nonprescription treatments for hot flashes include:

  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin E
  • Ibuprofen

If you are struggling to manage your hot flashes speak with your gynecologist. He or she will help you decide what triggers to avoid and what treatments may best soothe your symptoms to ensure your years of menopause are not spent in discomfort. And if you are looking for a new Ob-Gyn and are in the Buffalo NY area, please give us a call.