Concerned about the immunity of you or a loved one? As fall is upon us, we discuss the vaccines you might consider, especially for someone with chronic illness: the annual flu shot, a COVID booster, and the RSV vaccine.
In this episode:
- 05:11 – DNA in Space
- 11:12 – Eisenhower’s Beef Soup
- 12:19 – Fall Vaccines
- 29:30 – Poem by Fernanda Reyes: Collecting memories like souvenirs: Love and death lessons in verse
- 32:25 – Outro
Do I need all these vaccines?
Respiratory viruses are the most concerning cold-weather viruses. These are especially deadly to people of advanced age or in poor health. It wasn’t long ago that we could get our yearly flu shot and be done; now have COVID and RSV to consider on our hit parade of vaccines that reduce risks from all major viruses likely to circulate this season. Look at the summaries below, and listen to the podcast for full details and symptoms to look for.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
RSV is a common winter virus that usually causes mild cold-like illness with runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, or wheezing. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can cause serious illness for any age. Infants and older adults, especially if they have chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease, weakened immune systems, or who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, are at highest risk of serious illness and complications from RSV.
RSV may also lead to worsening of other medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or congestive heart failure. The federal government has approved the first RSV vaccines for people 60 years and older and timing is best to get it in early fall as RSV tends to circulate earlier than the flu.
The flu officially kills about 35,000 Americans in a typical year, but it may be even higher. The flu also weakens the body in ways that make heart attacks and strokes more common, especially in older adults.
This flu vaccine shots are now, but you may want to wait until late September or October to get one. The heaviest parts of flu season tend to occur between December and February. If you wait, the vaccine’s protection against severe illness will still be near its strongest level during those months.
Of course, COVID is always mutating, and there has been at least one variant under scrutiny this fall as it causes surges in other countries. The best defense against COVID has not changed: vaccines and post-infection treatments. They are especially important for older adults and those that are immunocompromised.
The federal government is on track to approve updated COVID vaccines designed to combat recent variants this month. Once it does, all adults should consider getting a booster shot. Many Americans have now gone more than a year without one, and immunity has waned.
A good strategy for many people may be to get their COVID booster and flu shot at the same time, in late September or October. And if you’re older and you get COVID, talk to your health care practitioner about taking Paxlovid which can make a big difference in your outcomes.
Here’s a vaccine summary from Your Local Epidemiologist, who also has a very good article about fall vaccines. She is a great resource for up-to-date research data and well-presented statistics on variants and waves.
To Go Where No One Has Gone Before…
Enterprise will be carrying the precious remains of over 200 individuals, and DNA samples from individuals – living and deceased – from around the globe. Iconic Star Trek creators, actors, and artists, an Apollo-era NASA astronaut, global adventurers, ground-breaking scientists and engineers, space explorers, veterans, and everyday people from many nations will be a part of the historic journey.
Recipe of the Week
A poem about love – Fernanda Reyes
Charlie read a moving poem about love, written by Fernanda Reyes. The author shared this on her blog:
“It [a recent wedding] got me thinking about love and how it’s this incredible thing, but at the same time, there’s that fear in the back of our minds about losing someone we care about. This poem managed to capture the beauty in life’s fragility. Understanding the fragility of life suddenly gives us this fresh perspective on what truly matters.”
So enjoy her beautiful, moving words below, and check out Fernanda’s blog at Evermore: Navigating the Space Between Life and Death: Personal Stories for Dealing with Terminal Illness.
A poem about love I wrote this poem last week Late one night Hunched over a laptop Out of my wife’s sight It’s a poem about the lessons I’ve learned About what love is, As far as I'm concerned. Love is the freedom to be who you are, Because in each other’s eyes you’re always a star. It’s the invisible safety net - no, It's the massive trampoline, That springs you out of your shell into your wildest dreams. Love is the giddiness when she walks through the door The ache you feel when you miss her to the core Love brought us here, not just us two But all of you Compelled you to get on that 30 hour plane To leave your kids at home To get on that train To give up this lovely house, for us to entertain Or maybe it wasn’t, and you’re here for the free not-even-champagne. But Love is not just rainbows and butterflies as the movies portray Love is not just the the actions or even words you say Love is looking for her keys, again, Whilst half an hour late, Then rushing to the place, just to find out she got the wrong date, It’s saying you were wrong Even if it technically wasn’t really your mistake Love’s like the warmth of the sun on a freezing day Love creates memories that you replay and replay You see My wife and I have been together, for nine years or so From the first tinder swipe, what feels like a lifetime ago What a journey we would go on, little did we know Around the world we’ve travelled near and far Laying on a rock in the New Zealand Alps gazing at the stars, Vomiting in India wondering why on earth we ordered the beef medium rare on a beach. I can go on , but we don't have too much time to spare So fast forward to 2 years ago when we made our vows To love each other, for better or for worse In sickness and in health Till death do us part Till death do us part But recently I’ve learned that Yes, love brings joy of course But it lasts much longer - Than death do us part It puts even infinity to shame Because it sees so much more... Love is the G force stomach knot of fear When the doctor says it’s stage four It’s the dread you feel, shaken to the core It’s the sadness of loss to come, The terror of grief I’ve learnt that, too is just love On its twisted, upside down course Because love is beguiling, it does funny things It makes us laugh, cry, shout It tugs at our heartstrings But know that love is the reason we are all here So let’s collect these memories like souvenirs Before the party ends and we all disappear Because to live a life without love Is not really a life worth living So love with all your heart, No matter what Just find something or someone to love a lot. For me it's you, so thanks for giving me a shot At loving you, No matter what.
From Everyone Dies:
Everyone Dies: and yes, it is normal!
Everyone Dies (and yes, it is normal) is a story about a young boy named Jax who finds something special on the beach where he and his grandpa Pops are enjoying a wonderful day. Pops helps Jax understand that death is a normal part of life. This book provides an age appropriate, non-scary, comfortable way to introduce the important topic of mortality to a preschool child. Its simple explanation will last a lifetime. Autographed copies for sale at: www.everyonediesthebook.com. Also available at Amazon
We offer a way to memorialize your loved one or treasured pet with a piece of handmade jewelry. When people comment on it and the wearer can say for example “I received this when my mother died” which opens the conversation about this loss. All our jewelry is made with semi-precious stones and beads, vintage beads, and pearls. You can choose between earrings or bracelets and the color family. Learn More
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