Clean Hands Count and You need a Flu Vaccine

According to the CDC, the 2017-2018 flu season was the first to be classified as high severity across all age groups. With activity beginning to increase in November and remaining elevated above the national baseline for 19 weeks through March, it was also one of the longest flu seasons on record.

Cold and flu season is about to be in full swing again this fall.  Fortunately, Infection Prevention specialists at Divine Savior Healthcare have tips for better preventing and fighting off the flu this year. 

According to Cindy Fraker, Infection Prevention Practitioner at Divine Savior, “The number one way to prevent spreading and contracting illness is through hand hygiene.” Fraker recommends using alcohol-based gels or traditional soap and water frequently and rubbing your hands together for a minimum of 15 -20 seconds as the best defense against unwanted germ sharing with friends, co-workers, and your family.

She states, “Wash your hands frequently and do not be afraid to ask others to do the same.  Consider the number of surfaces you every day and remember to wipe down your equipment with disinfectant, too”.

“It’s also critical that you get the flu vaccine. Even if you’re healthy, even if you don’t like needles, find a way to get vaccinated for influenza”, continues Fraker.  “You may not have any symptoms and could be passing the virus to others, especially those who are vulnerable, if you do not get vaccinated”.

Divine Savior recommends that everyone six months of age and older get the current year flu vaccine. It is important to get vaccinated not just to protect yourself from getting sick, missing work, or being unable to care for your family, but it also prevents spreading the virus to pregnant women, children, the elderly, people with chronic illnesses like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or anyone at serious risk for flu-related complications.

If you are someone at greater risk for flu-related complications, it is even more imperative that you get vaccinated.

According to the CDC, the vaccines have been given to hundreds of millions of people for more than 50 years and have a very good safety track record.  While you may experience achiness or a bit of pain where you received the shot, these symptoms are typically mild, not the flu, and will only last a day or two.

Fraker states, “It’s best to get vaccinated as early as possible before the flu starts to spread.  It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide full protection against the virus.” 

The flu vaccine is safe, it does not cause the flu, and it protects your community and loved ones. There are nasal spray vaccines for those who do not do well with needles, and the vaccines are offered at countless locations, from the doctor’s office, to retail stores, pop up events, schools, clinics and many employers.

“At Divine Savior a flu vaccination is a condition of employment on an annual basis.  The viruses are ever-changing, immunity declines over time, and the minor pain of the shot is nothing compared to the suffering the flu can cause,” concludes Fraker. 

Be smart, wash your hands, get your flu shot, and spread the word. If you or someone you love is in need of a flu vaccination or is suffering from flu-like symptoms, call our Family Medicine Clinic at (608) 745-4598 to schedule an appointment or visit http://dshealthcare.com/family_medicine for more information.


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