More Common Health Questions Answered

By: Pfizer

- Well, we're come to my favorite segment. It's time to ask the doctors with my very good friend, Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, Pfizer's Chief Medical Officer.

So, welcome. (audience applauding) Let's just jump right in, okay? Our first question is from Jessica about her young son. So, hi Jessica, what is your question? - My son just started kindergarten and I'm so afraid he's gonna come home with the flu or some other health issue. What can I do to protect him and not worry myself sick? - Well, I get that. I remember when our sons Jay and Jordan started school. Robert and I had the same worries 'cause these kids are like little petri dishes, right? What advice do you have for Jessica and other parents? - Well, first of all, let me say, Jessica, I understand as a mother but, as a doctor, I knew that I had a way to help protect my children and that was to make sure that they were receiving their immunizations.

So, getting their vaccinations was very important. So Jessica, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend an immunization schedule for children that includes protection for up to 14 diseases and they include measles and whooping cough. - [Dr. Phil] Right. - Now, I mention those two because there was a time that we thought that whooping cough and measles was largely under control. But, they're really resurfacing now as a result of lack of vaccinations. So, the CDC also recommends that everyone six months of age and older receive a seasonal flu shot. - [Dr.

Phil] That young, six months or older? Okay. - So it's important to think about vaccinations as a base. Then, there are a whole list of other things. The first thing is, I guess what our mothers told us which is wash your hands often with soap and water. And if a sink isn't available and they can't do that, they can use an alcohol based hand sanitizer as directed. - Do these things work that are on the wall? - [Dr. Freda] The things that are on the wall, you can-- - Those do help. - Exactly and so, you wanna teach your son ya know, how to do that when you're not watching or telling.

More Common Health Questions Answered

Right, so make sure that he knows that. Also make sure he knows how to avoid contact with people who might be sick, like what to share and what not to share, how to know when people might be ill 'cause that's important. You wanna make sure that if he's sick, you're keeping him home so that he's not endangering others. So, you wanna protect others as well. And also, just kinda some simple things with cough and cold. So, if you're coughing, cover your mouth with a tissue in it and if you don't have one, use that elbow, right, the inside of your elbow to protect yourself and others.

This one is really hard because it's a habit most people don't realize and that is, help teach your son how to keep his hands out of his eyes, his nose and his mouth 'cause that's one of the ways that those germs get inside. - That is good advice for parents and children because usually, when a child brings something home, the first people to get sick are us. So, Jessica, thank you for your question. Now next, we have a video from Wade here in Los Angeles. Let's see his question. - Hi doctors, my name is Wade and I have a question.

My job requires I work long hours and late nights. What I wanna know it how do I find balance and can working like that affect my health? (intense music) - Oh man, I'm feeling a little crowded on this one. I think this is a common question for many people, me included. So, Dr. Freda, can you give us the latest on how working long hours does affect health? We know it's not good but give us the scoop. - Well you know, it's interesting. We're hearing this question more and more as people are pushed to work longer and harder. So, as more people are doing that, this question is coming up.

And we know now from studies that lack of sleep, for example, does put you at risk for long term health consequences and that includes things like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease as well as depression, anxiety, and mental distress. A recent study in the European Heart Journal indicates that people who work 55 hours or more a week may be at greater risk for developing atrial fibrillation. Now that's an irregular heart rhythm that's linked to stroke and other health problems.

That's compared to people who work 40 hours or less a week. So just the long hours themselves can really be a problem. - Yeah, does Robin have her arms crossed and is she looking at me like this out there? (audience laughing) - [Dr. Freda] Pretty much, yeah. - Yeah, pretty much, okay. Alright, now there are specific strategies to balance work and the rest of your life before it affects your health and I wanna talk about these just in terms of life management. First, talk to your manager.

Are the long hours really needed and could you strike a balance between maybe being at work and sometimes working at home and improve the quality of the sleep that you get and by that, I mean remove distractions from your bedroom like TVs, cell phones, computers because these inhibit sleep and regular exercise and healthy diet really do improve the quality of your sleep. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises may improve both the quality of your waking hours and the quality of your sleep. So, just those simple things can add up and aggregate to make a big difference. So Wade, thank you for your great question and remember, your health always comes first.

For more information on these topics and a whole lot more, everyone must check out your website, - Absolutely and while you're there, you can sign up for our newsletter and that way, you can get answers to your everyday health questions come to you. - Yeah and let me tell ya, that newsletter, it is really informative. This is a great website.

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