Each year, up to 20 percent of Americans come down with the flu. While the exact timing varies, flu activity generally starts in October and November and peaks between December and February, sometimes extending to May.
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine before flu season begins. The vaccine causes antibodies to develop about two weeks after receiving the shot, so you should aim to get your flu vaccine by the end of October, says pediatrician and immunization expert Dr. Melissa Stockwell, who shared with NewYork-Presbyterian’s Health Matters tips for how to prevent the flu this season.
1. I got a flu shot last year. Do I need another one this year?
Yes, you need to get an annual flu shot because its protectiveness wears off. You also need a new one at the beginning of flu season because we often have different strains that are potentially circulating from year to year. It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to reach effectiveness in the body. So, for your body to be protected once the flu hits your community, it’s really important that you get the flu vaccine now.
2. Will it make me sick? Can you get the flu from the vaccine?
No, you can’t get the flu from the vaccine. Side effects from the vaccine are generally mild. Some common side effects include soreness or redness at the injection site, fever, or an all-over achy feeling the next day. These generally go away on their own within a few days.
3. Are allergic reactions common with the flu shot?
Severe allergic reactions to flu vaccines are rare. We used to say that if you had an egg allergy you can’t get the flu vaccine. But that’s not true anymore. Most people with an egg allergy can get the regular flu vaccine, so ask your healthcare provider. If you have a severe egg allergy, make sure you get the flu shot in a medical setting where a healthcare provider can recognize and manage allergic reactions. Also, while the flu vaccine typically uses egg-based technology, manufacturers now make a vaccine that’s not made with egg.
4. How do experts come up with the flu shot?
Experts worldwide look at what the circulating flu virus strains were in the previous year and also look at flu cases across the globe, because in Australia, for example, our summer is their winter, which is when they experience flu season. They make the best educated guess on all the information out there and what they think the circulating flu virus strains are going to be, and then those are the strains they put in the vaccine. We all would love for there to be a universal flu vaccine so that we didn’t have to do this every year, and the best minds are working on it.
5. Can you still get the flu even if you get vaccinated?
The flu vaccine in general is about 40 to 60 percent effective, depending on the year, for a number of reasons. It could be because the flu strains in the vaccine weren’t a good match to that season’s flu virus or because the flu changed during the season. It could be because some people may have been exposed before they got vaccinated. Or, they could have gotten exposed within that two-week period after they got vaccinated but before the vaccine became effective. However, even when effectiveness may be, for example 40 percent, that’s still more effective than not getting vaccinated at all. So, if you don’t get vaccinated, your vaccine effectiveness is zero percent. There’s also some research showing that in people who get vaccinated and get the flu, they might have a less severe case of the flu. So, it’s still worth getting vaccinated.
6. In addition to the vaccine, what else should people do to prevent the flu?
While getting a flu shot is the single best way to prevent the flu, there are other things that people can do. The first is to wash your hands often to protect from germs. It is best to wash your hands for 20 seconds, which is equal to singing the Happy Birthday song twice through. If you don’t have soap and water available, use hand sanitizer. You should avoid close contact with people who are sick. It is also important to avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Finally, in general, it is important to get enough sleep, drink enough fluids, eat well, exercise, and manage your stress.
7. If you get the flu, what should you do to avoid spreading it to others?
If you are sick, it is important to protect your family and friends. You can do this by staying home from work, school, or other activities, and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and then throwing the tissue out. Also make sure to clean and disinfect surfaces in your home that are frequently touched.
8. Does the flu vaccine nasal spray work as well as a flu shot?
Initially, there was good evidence that in kids the nasal spray was potentially more effective than the injectable vaccine because the way it was introduced to the body mimics that of the flu. What happened, though, was that the nasal spray lacked effectiveness against the 2009 H1N1 strain, which was the pandemic type. So they had to go back to the drawing board and try to figure out why it didn’t work, and they say they’ve solved the problem. This season, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC expressed no preference for the shot or nasal spray. The nasal spray is for people ages 2 through 49; it shouldn’t be given to pregnant women or people with certain medical conditions.
9. Is the vaccine dangerous for children or pregnant women?
Since children and pregnant women are at very high risk of complications from the flu, it’s actually quite the opposite—they need to make sure that they get vaccinated. Babies six months and older should get the flu shot. Babies under six months have some protection if their mom got vaccinated while pregnant, which is another reason it’s really important for pregnant women to get the flu shot. It is also important to “cocoon” babies by vaccinating people who will be around them and could potentially pass on the flu to them.
10. Do children need multiple flu shots to be fully protected?
Kids who are six months through eight years old may need two shots in a season depending on how many shots they’ve gotten before. A child in this age group getting vaccinated for the first time, or who has received only one flu vaccine in his or her lifetime, will need two shots, generally one month apart, to be protected for that flu season. It is really important that families come back and get that second dose. We know that nationally only about half of kids who need that second dose actually come back and get it. That’s a problem because kids really aren’t protected unless they get those two doses if they’re in that age category and they haven’t had enough previous vaccinations.
Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH is an associate attending pediatrician at NewYork-Presbyterian’s Ambulatory Care Network and the medical director for the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Immunization Registry, called EzVac. She is also an associate professor of pediatrics and population and family health at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons as well as director of the Center for Children’s Digital Health Research and associate vice chair of clinical and health services research, both in the Department of Pediatrics.
This article first appeared on NewYork-Presbyterian’s Health Matters at healthmatters.nyp.org.
Tuesday, November 5, 2019 is Election Day, and several of our branches will serve as polling sites.
Queens residents will cast their votes at the Briarwood, Central, Elmhurst, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, Lefferts, Lefrak City, North Forest Park, Peninsula, Ridgewood, Seaside, St. Albans, and Woodside libraries, from 6AM to 9PM.
Is your library where you should vote? Please visit https://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search or call 866-VOTE-NYC (866-868-3692) to confirm the correct location for you to vote in your neighborhood!
Frederick Douglass was one of the greatest abolitionists, known for his powerful oratory. David W. Blight, author of a new biography of Douglass and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, will visit Flushing Library on Saturday, November 16 at 2pm. Register for his talk at davidwblight.eventbrite.com. His book, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, is available now at Queens Public Library. This conversation is courtesy of Simon & Schuster, the book’s publisher.
Q. Can you discuss the tension the aging Douglass experienced as he made the transition from radical outsider to political insider and symbolic figure of great fame?
Few radical reformers in history live to see their causes triumph, and then also live long enough to become a political insider within the government or a system they had fought to overthrow, destroy, and reinvent. Nelson Mandela comes to mind. Vaclav Havel and many other Eastern European leaders after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall also come to mind. Some of America’s major Civil Rights leaders who later became major office holders also are good examples. Douglass is the greatest example of this phenomenon in the 19th century. In his case this meant becoming a loyal advocate of the Republican Party for thirty years as it decisively changed from the party of emancipation and the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the party of big business and the retreat from the egalitarian transformations of Reconstruction.
Douglass became an office holder (by appointment, not election), he became often a symbol as much as an actual political leader. Douglass always had to live up to expectations of performing as the black leader, the voice of the freedpeople, the former slave who had to prove the capacities of black people. But above all Douglass also became in the final thirty years of his life, 1865-1895, a patriarch of a huge extended family of three sons, one daughter, and twenty-one grandchildren. Along with his two wives over time, these kinfolk all became to one degree or another financially dependent on Douglass. Living in Washington, his family emerged as a kind of black first family in the District of Columbia press. Douglass, therefore, lived with an acute problem of “fame,” in all its positive and negative aspects.
Q. How would you characterize Douglass’s legacy today? What lessons could we all—political leaders, cultural leaders, and active citizens—take from his life and work?
Douglass delivers many legacies to us today in the 21st century, both from the trajectory of his life and from his ideas and writings. He is first one of the best examples ever of a person who led by language, a genius with words whose oratory and writing provide the primary reasons we know him. Second, Douglass delivered over and over a critique of America as a slave society that had to be dismembered and destroyed before being recreated around the idea of human equality. Third, Douglass’s writings, especially in the autobiographies, constitute the most compelling descriptions and analysis of the nature and meaning of American slavery crafted by any American. Fourth, on a personal level, for anyone who has ever experienced despair, captivity, oppression in many forms, displacement, isolation of the soul, or legal and political denial, Douglass’s story, and his writings, offer a deep well of hope and inspiration.
Fifth, Douglass might have given up on the cause of abolition, of emancipation, of U.S. victory in the Civil War, or of the endurance of the triumphs for black rights in Reconstruction. But he never truly gave up. That alone gives his life and thought lasting use and significance. Sixth, Douglass was a great editor, writer, speaker. He was an organizer, a creator of and believer in social protest movements. All who seek social and political change or transformation do well to examine Douglass’s example. Seventh, Douglass remains a classic model of political pragmatism grown out of radicalism. His story shows us over and again that all revolutions will lead to counter-revolutions. A true reformer has to keep a long view of history, and try to fashion the most effective and not always the most radical method of change.
Eighth, Douglass not only lived a heroic life in his escape from slavery and the remaking of himself in freedom; he became a major thinker—about the nature of history, about the natural rights tradition, about political and constitutional philosophy, about the elements of morality in human nature. Ninth, Douglass has a great deal to tell us eternally about what it means to be an American, and about how the issue and history of race stands at the center of that question. And tenth and finally, but not least, Douglass’s world view, sense of history, and his gripping talent for storytelling rested deeply in his reading and use of the Bible, especially the Old Testament. Just why Americans in the nineteenth century were so steeped in Biblical story and metaphor is beautifully and powerfully on display in Douglass life and work.
David W. Blight is the Sterling Professor of History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. He is the author or editor of a dozen books, including Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom; American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era; and Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory; and annotated editions of Douglass’s first two autobiographies. He has worked on Douglass much of his professional life and been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History, the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize, among others.
Photo of David W. Blight courtesy of Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Forbidden Gathering by Gina Samson.
Queens Public Library will be hosting an eight-week Caribbean Arts Festival featuring artists from as far away as Bangladesh and Argentina and as close as Queens.
The festival will take place at nine branches: Cambria Heights, Central, Douglaston/Little Neck, Hollis, Laurelton, Rochdale Village, Rosedale, St. Albans, and South Hollis.
Three years ago, the library had Festival an Koulè, an exhibit of the vibrant Haitian art of Queens. This year’s exhibition is being organized by QPL staff in partnership with the Friends of Queens Public Library. Reginald St. Fort, who is the manager of South Hollis Library, is curating and co-directing with co-director Florence Palomo, a librarian at Hollis Library.
The festival kicks off with an opening reception on Saturday, November 16 from 6-10 pm at Cambria Heights Library. An art exhibition will run at all nine branches through January 2020.
Camille T. Barrett, QPL’s assistant director of government and community affairs, says that she hopes the festival will give customers the opportunity to experience great art in their own communities without traveling to museums in Manhattan.
Join us on Saturday, November 9 to celebrate the grand opening of the Discover Exoplanets exhibit for the entire family. The exhibit will be on display at Central Library until January 27.
Discover Exoplanets features multimedia activities where visitors can build their own solar systems, see the most recent NASA discoveries, learn about whether popular TV shows and movies feature facts or fiction, and much more.
On November 9 from 11am-3pm, blast off to the far reaches of the universe. The Discovery Team and the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum will have a stellar array of space-related activities. It’s sure to be out of this world.
At 2pm, the ScienceTellers will be presenting "Tales of Alien Visitors." During a midnight meteor shower, something mysterious falls from the sky toward Earth. It’s not a shooting star. Two curious kids investigate and find themselves mixed up with a family of visitors from another planet (an exoplanet?)! They risk everything to rescue the aliens and get them back to their spaceship—before it’s too late! Don’t miss this action-packed and educational alien adventure using science experiments for special effects.
There will be events through January, including:
Saturday Science Lab
School-age boys and girls up to age 12 are invited to join us (almost) every week for Saturday Science Lab! This exciting and educational program lets kids not only learn, but actually perform amazing science experiments. No registration is required for this activity.
Saturdays, November 2, 16, 23, 30, December 7, 14, 21, 28
Intrepid, Sea, Air & Space Museum Program: Cosmic Colors
Create your own deep space pictures using real data from the Hubble Space Telescope, and learn about some of Hubble’s instruments and what they tell us about the farthest reaches of space. This is for grades K-6. Seating is limited; first-come, first-served.
Wednesday, November 20
Central Library's Children's Library Discovery Center (CLDC)
Intrepid, Sea, Air & Space Museum Program: Poof! Where Does Space Begin?
Poof! Where does “space” begin? How far away is the moon? Where did the space shuttles go? These questions and more will be answered as you discover the importance of Earth’s atmosphere and why astronauts need to wear spacesuits. Presented by the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Seating is limited; first-come, first-served.
Wednesday, December 11
Intrepid, Sea, Air & Space Museum Program: Out of This World (Exoplanets and More)
Water worlds, icy planets, or lots of hot air: all planets have unique characteristics. By studying planets around other stars, scientists find those that could harbor life. Art meets science: students will use colored pencils and other materials to design an exoplanet. This is for kids ages kindergarten to twelfth grade and families are welcome. Limited seating; first-come, first-served.
Monday, January 6
Scientist Talk with Moiya McTier, Astrophysicist
Meet Columbia University scientist Moiya McTier. She will speak about her pathway into science, her research about exoplanets, citizen science projects, using the scientific method in your daily life, and how we can all get more involved in science. Everyone is welcome!
Saturday, January 11
Central Library Plaza
The National Book Award finalists have been announced—how many can you read before the winners are announced at the end of November? Five finalists have been chosen in each of five categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature, and young people's literature. Discover and request these great books at Queens Public Library!*
*“I”: New and Selected Poems, Be Recorder and Sight Lines are not currently available for request, but are coming soon.
Sarah M. Broom, The Yellow House
Tressie McMillan Cottom, Thick: And Other Essays
Carolyn Forché, What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance
David Treuer, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present
Albert Woodfox with Leslie George, Solitary
Khaled Khalifa, Death Is Hard Work
László Krasznahorkai, Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming
Scholastique Mukasonga, The Barefoot Woman
Yoko Ogawa, The Memory Police
Pajtim Statovci, Crossing
Young People’s Literature:
Akwaeke Emezi, Pet
Jason Reynolds, Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks
Randy Ribay, Patron Saints of Nothing
Laura Ruby, Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All
Martin W. Sandler, 1919 The Year That Changed America
For Newbery Medal recipient Erin Entrada Kelly, reading isn’t only entertainment or a diversion. It literally saved her life.
The author explains that she has suffered from chronic depression her entire life: “Without books, I would have felt so much more alone than I already did. Opening a book is like coming home.”
Kelly’s elementary school library in Louisiana played an important role in her life. She discovered two of her favorite childhood books there, Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar and Halfway Down Paddy Lane by Jean Marzollo, checking them both out so many times that she knew exactly where they were on the shelf.
One of the things she loves about the area where she lives now in Delaware is the library system. “My local library is also my favorite writing spot,” she says. “I tuck myself away at one of the tables near the windows and write, write, write.”
Kelly believes strongly in the power of libraries and the importance of their presence in communities. Her writing process only begins after she’s spent months thinking about a fictional world in her head—then, she gets out a notebook and writes longhand. Only when she’s completed that does she type up her work, print it out, and complete edits on the page.
She was an avid reader from an early age and realized at about eight years old that she could write her own books. In addition to being an author, Kelly teaches writing. “Being around other writers builds creative energy, and I thrive on creative energy,” she tells us.
Her new book Lalani of the Distant Sea was influenced by the rich, complex tapestry of Filipino folklore. As she explains, “Filipino folklore is rooted in nature, and it’s wonderfully and incredibly dark, which is certainly true of the book.” Still, she says the world of the book doesn’t directly parallel folklore, as it comes from her imagination. Kelly recommends the Aswang Project for readers who are interested in Filipino folklore.
Kelly is inspired by a wide range of authors and books, including When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, “in which there is not a single wasted word,” The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, “which breaks your heart and stitches it up again,” Zeroboxer and Jade City by Fonda Lee “for her mind-blowing world-building,” Kevin Henkes’ The Year of Billy Miller “for its subtlety and truth,” The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, one of the most lyrical and atmospheric books she’s ever read, The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang “for its management of art, theme, and prose,” and A.S. King’s Dig and I Crawl Through It. Kelly admires that King doesn’t condescend to her audience and acknowledges that young people are far more complex than adults give them credit for.
Choice in reading is freedom, she says. What she wants all of her readers to know is that they are never alone.
Lalani of the Distant Sea is available now at Queens Public Library.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 28, 2019
Council Member Adrienne Adams Celebrates South Ozone Park Library Reopening
South Ozone Park, New York—On Friday, October 25th, Council Member Adrienne Adams, in conjunction with the Queens Public Library, celebrated the reopening of the South Ozone Park Library. The branch reopens following a much needed $579,000 roof replacement project. This project will ensure the resilience of the structure of this popular branch that has fostered intellectual curiosity for so many years.
Council Member Adrienne Adams, Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott and local community leaders celebrated the grand reopening with a special storytime for local students, conducted by Council Member Adams, and free giveaways for attendees.
“Public libraries are community spaces where residents of all ages can expand their horizons,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “I am proud to have provided funding for this important project. The community has eagerly anticipated the reopening of the South Ozone Park Library and I could think of no better way to celebrate than sitting down with local youths for storytime.”
“Queens Public Library is committed to creating safe, welcoming spaces that inspire our customers to pursue knowledge, information or a path to new opportunities,” said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “As we celebrate the reopening of our South Ozone Park branch, we are grateful to Council Member Adrienne Adams for allocating capital funds to replace the roof, allowing the community to continue benefiting from our resources, including early literacy programs, such as this storytime.”
On Saturday, November 2, join us at Langston Hughes Library for the 11th Annual Literary Arts Festival! This is an opportunity to meet and hear from prominent and emerging writers, learn more about the publishing industry, and see a performance.
The festival includes a film about Langston Hughes, author Wayétu Moore in discussion with Regina Bernard-Carreño, and a presentation by publishing professional Jennifer Baker. It also features an open mic, a Newtown Literary poets’ panel moderated by Allison Escoto, and a Literature to Life presentation of Junot Diaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
Queens resident Jennifer Baker says, "As a publishing professional of over 16 years, much of what I've done in my work has been to make connections. Not necessarily in the sense of the sometimes obscure idea of 'networking,' but more so to build relationships, particularly between those in marginalized communities in an industry we're not always visible in."
"My podcast, Minorities in Publishing, is a testament to the work, joys, and experiences marginalized people (including BIPOC--Black, Indigenous, People of Color) have faced within publishing," Baker continues. "In discussing this on Saturday, I want to frame things honestly as well as hopefully. Many of us are here doing this work and we're looking forward to the additional faces to be added to publishing over the years as creators and industry professionals."
The festival’s theme is Raising Consciousness through Literature, and the poets’ panel will discuss writers of color as whole people. Moderator Alison Escoto is the head librarian at the Center for Fiction.
Read about festival speaker Wayétu Moore in our magazine article from March/April 2019. Moore’s debut novel, She Would Be King, was named a best book of 2018 by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Entertainment Weekly, and BuzzFeed. She is a 2019 Distinguished Visiting Writer at Syracuse University’s MFA program.
Suggested for ages 13 and up, Literature to Life’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Junot Diaz, about an overweight science fiction enthusiast who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien.
Don't miss this thought-provoking and inspiring day!
Happy National Friends of Libraries Week! It’s the annual celebration of library Friends groups and everything that they do to support their neighborhood libraries.
It was no coincidence that QPL and our Government & Community Affairs department held our annual Friends Mid-Year Conference on Saturday, October 19 at Cambria Heights Library, with our special keynote speaker, Congressman Gregory Meeks! Thank you to all the Friends members who joined us that day.
According to a 2012 United for Libraries survey, Friends groups raise, on average, over $50,000 for their libraries each year.
There are currently 26 Friends of the Library groups throughout the borough of Queens. They create public support for their library branches, sponsor programs that enhance the cultural life of their communities, serve as legislative advocates for Queens Public Library, and much more!
Our Friends make sure that the communities we serve and the elected officials who represent them know that people care deeply about their local public libraries.
Thank you again to all the Friends of Queens Public Library!