By Jackie Sciaudone | Nov. 12, 2019
With cooler temperatures comes many great things like bonfires, football, holidays, coziness, and everything pumpkin flavored. But what that also means is that flu season has begun. According to the CDC, the flu season can last all the way through May, with the peak infections generally hitting between December and February. However, every flu season is different so here is everything you need to know in order to prepare yourself for this year’s flu season.
The question on everyone’s mind is how bad will this year’s flu season be? Well with a surge of influenza outbreaks in Australia and already three deaths in the United States, some physicians are worried it could be a hard flu season for Americans. With health agencies in Riverside County, CA, Los Angeles County, CA, and Marion County, IN reporting their first flu-related deaths of the 2019-2020 season, public health officials are urging people to get their flu vaccines before it kicks into high gear.
The easiest way to protect yourself from the flu is by getting the flu shot. Getting vaccinated is important not only for ourselves, but for the people around us. For people who are concerned the flu shot gives them the flu, it’s just a common misconception. According to Dr. Michael Ben-Aderet, associate director of Hospital Epidemiology at Los Angeles’ Cedar-Sinai hospital, “there’s no risk of getting the flu shot since the vaccine is composed of inactivated strains”. The only affect most people are left with is a sore arm. If you have the sniffles the next day, chances are you’re caught one of the other respiratory viruses that pop up throughout the season. Ben-Aderet stressed “people are much better off getting the flu shot than not”.
The flu season is never 100 percent totally predictable. Predicting the duration and size of the flu season hasn’t become an exact science. For instance, changes in the flu virus, environment, and even some factors not known to scientists can contribute to how the flu season hit different nations. The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months get vaccinated each year, with rare exceptions. There are different types of influenza vaccines, so what may work for a pregnant woman may not be the best for someone over the age of 65. The best way to be sure is to discuss your options over with your doctor.
For any healthcare organization, flu season can be hectic and reminding patients to get the flu shot can sometimes slip the mind. But using automated reminders, is an easy way to ensure that every patient comes in for their flu shot. What’s more, your organization’s staff can stick to more important tasks, rather than spend countless hours contacting patients. According to a study by the School of Public Health at Curtin University, 12% of patients who received the reminder were vaccinated within the approximate 3-month window vs. 9% of those who did not get the text. In addition, children whose parents received the reminder were 2.4 times more likely to receive at least one dose of seasonal influenza vaccine vs. children whose parents did not get the text.
See how our team can help remind your patients to get vaccinated for this year’s flu season!