Flu Vaccinations and Recommendations

With summer winding down and fall fast approaching, flu season is on its way. Millions of people are infected with the flu every year, and hundreds of thousands are hospitalized due to complications associated with the virus. Encourage your plan participants to take steps now to avoid getting sick.

An annual influenza vaccination is the best way to protect against the flu. Although vaccination isn’t 100 percent effective in preventing the flu, it does reduce the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and flu-related deaths in children. Other preventive actions include:

  • Stay away from people who are sick
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Wash your hands to reduce the spread of germs
  • Practice good health habits like getting plenty of sleep and reducing stress
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

If you are sick, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Who Should Be Vaccinated?
The opportunities for the flu virus to spread decrease as more people are vaccinated. While healthy individuals may choose to forgo vaccinations, those considered to be at high risk for developing complications associated with the virus should always seek protection in the form of a flu shot or equivalent therapy.

High-risk patients include people over the age of 65, pregnant women, children younger than two years of age, and individuals with certain medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and/or heart disease.

Because it can take approximately two weeks after vaccination for the body’s immune response to take full effect, encourage your plan participants to take action now. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people get a flu vaccine prior to November 1st each year. That said, being vaccinated later in the year can still be beneficial, and the CDC states that vaccinations should continue to be offered throughout the flu season.

Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever greater than 100.4° F (38° C)
  • Aching muscles that cannot be attributed to other causes
  • Chills and sweats
  • Headache
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Sore throat

Most people who get the flu can treat themselves at home, and generally don’t need to visit a physician. If a patient is at risk of developing complications, however, or displaying evidence of a severe influenza infection (e.g., shortness of breath, fast breathing, chest pain, recurrent high fever, etc.), they should seek immediate medical attention.

2019 Quarter Three WellInformed Table of Contents