The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee recommend that all U.S. health care personnel (HCP) be vaccinated annually against influenza. (*)
Three reasons for Healthcare Personnel (HCP) to get vaccinated against Flu:
1. It reduces transmission of flu among HCP, their families and their patients.
2. It reduces HCP absenteeism by 22-52%.
3. It decreases long-term care facility patient flu mortality by 42-44%.
Three ways for Healthcare Facilities can increase HCP Flu vaccination rates:
1. Offer free vaccination onsite.
2. Personally remind employees to get vaccinated.
3. Require employees to get vaccinated.
The flu season usually runs from November through March. Some years, cases continue into April and May. For the last 25 years, the heaviest flu activity has occurred in February.
Influenza viruses can cause disease among people of any age, but rates of infection are highest among children. Serious illness and death are highest among persons ages 65 or older, and children ages 2 and younger. People of any age with certain medical conditions (e.g., congestive heart failure, asthma, diabetes), or who live in some type of long-term care facility are at risk for serious complications.
Experts agree that hand-washing can help prevent viral infections, including ordinary influenza and the swine flu virus. Also not touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands helps to prevent the flu. Influenza can spread in coughs or sneezes, but an increasing body of evidence shows small droplets containing the virus can linger on tabletops, telephones and other surfaces and be transferred via the fingers to the eyes, nose or mouth.