This year, most flu cases have resulted from the H3N2 viruses–a virus that developed after the current flu vaccine was developed.
So, should I still get a flu shot?
Yes! Although the flu shot is reported to be less effective in preventing the H3N2 flu, it still offers protection from other circulating flu viruses. So, receiving the flu shot is still the best way to prevent the flu and hopefully will prevent the most serious consequences of the flu including pneumonia, hospitalization and in rare circumstances death.
Am I considered “high risk” for catching the flu or having complications from the flu?
Currently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to encourage influenza vaccination and prompt treatment with antiviral drugs for people in the following categories:
- Those 65 years or older
- Children younger than 5 years and especially those younger than 2 years old
- Pregnant women
- Those residing in Long Term Care Facilities (such as Woods)
- Those with heart disease
- Those with blood disorders (such as Sickle Cell Disease)
- Those with kidney disorders
- Those with liver disorders
- Those with metabolic disorders
- Those with weakened immune systems
- Those younger than 19 years who are receiving long-term Aspirin therapy
- Those with obesity (BMI of 40 or greater)
- All healthcare workers
Besides getting my flu shot, how else can I prevent the flu?
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24-hours after your fever is gone (except to get medical care as needed). Your fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine
- Call your doctor when flu symptoms start. Antivirals such as, “Tamiflu” works best if given within the first 48-hours after symptoms are noticed
- If sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them
- Cover your nose & mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- WASH YOUR HANDS thoroughly with soap & water, if soap & water is not available, use hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; germs can spread this way
- Cean & disinfect surfaces & objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu
Ms. Barnes has been employed at Woods for over 30 years and has over 25 years of experience in Infection Prevention and Control. She received her Master’s in School Nursing and Health Education from St. Joseph University in Philadelphia and her B.S. in Nursing from the Penn State University. She has great compassion for working with those diagnosed with Developmental Disabilities.