November 15th, 2012 | The Blog
It is time to revisit flu shot compliance while the window of opportunity is still open. Over the course of time, the population has grown with regard to who should receive an annual flu shot.
Today, the guidelines are quite simple. Everyone over six months of age should be immunized. Of course, there are exceptions based upon individual medical history including allergies. It is important to check with the attending physician or primary care physician for each patient and yourself to determine if the flu shot should be administered.
With the flu season quickly approaching, there are still many people resistant to getting the flu shot. Enough people decide against being immunized, for sometimes the wrong reasons, that there will be a projected 200,000 Americans hospitalized because of the flu this season.
Debunk the Myths
Many patients are hesitant to be immunized because of, if you will, old wives tales. Let’s look at a few of those myths:
You can get the flu after having the flu shot. NO!
Years ago, the active flu virus was injected with the flu shot and people did report getting sick after being immunized. Today, the injected virus is inactive so there is no justification to this myth.
You need a medical appointment to be immunized. NO!
Almost every chain store pharmacy and market with a pharmacy within offers the flu shot on a daily basis. Doctor’s offices and clinics often offer walk-in hours to be immunized. Seeing your PCP is no longer a necessity to get the flu shot. The campaign to protect the greater population has made the flu shot readily available.
You cannot get the flu shot if you have a cold. NO!
You can get the flu shot if you have a common cold. You should not get immunized if you have a major illness or have a temperature, cold symptoms or not, above 101*.
Only high-risk patients should have the annual flu shot. NO!
As previously stated, everyone over six months old is advised to be immunized against the flu.
Offer the vaccine to every patient being discharged from the hospital, if safe to do so based upon his or her condition. Many hospitals already have this policy in place in their discharge planning.
Get the word out by any means possible. Offer educational material to all clinic, office and hospitalized patients.
Set the standard. Be immunized yourself. Some health care facilities have a policy that mandates all employees get the flu shot. If there is a religious or allergy exemption, those not immunized are required to wear a mask during the flu season.
Have you had your flu shot yet?
Stay healthy and protect your patients. Get your flu shot today, if you haven’t already done so.