Friday, October 10, 2008

Flu Shot or not?

Addressing the Top Flu Vaccine Myths

10. Hand washing is more effective than getting the vaccine.
The good news is people have heard the message about hygiene and flu prevention. The bad news is people mistakenly believe that hand washing alone will prevent influenza.

What YOU Can Do: Promote immunization, hand washing, and antiviral medication as a three-part flu protection strategy.

9. Only the very old and the very young need the flu shot.
Young children and the elderly are at high risk from flu complications, but people of all ages can become sick-and they can pass the virus on to others.

What YOU Can Do: Encourage flu vaccination as “a way to protect yourself and others.” Many people are more compelled to get a flu shot if they know it will protect a loved one’s health.

8. Flu shots are scarce and hard to find.
Manufacturers have more than doubled the amount of flu vaccine produced since 2004, and this year’s supply is projected to be ample.

What YOU Can Do: Spread the message that anyone who wants a flu vaccine should be able to find it.


7.Getting a flu shot is a hassle.
In addition to health care offices, many flu clinics are hosted in convenient places, such as work sites, pharmacies, supermarkets, and schools. Also, many organizations are holding Vote and Vax clinics at or near polling sites on Election Day, giving people another easy option.

What YOU Can Do: Publicize locations of flu clinics in your area, and consider helping needy groups find transportation to clinics if necessary.

6. Flu shots don’t work.
Each year scientists develop vaccines based on projections for the upcoming flu season-and they’ve made successful matches 16 of the last 21 years. Even if a person becomes ill from a strain not covered by the vaccine, a flu shot can minimize symptoms and speed up recovery.

What YOU Can Do: Acknowledge that there may be unexpected changes in the flu strain, but stress that the vaccine has a long success rate for preventing the flu and can help make the disease less severe if contracted.

5. Flu shots will make you sick.
Flu vaccines are very safe, but like any medicine, side effects may occur. Most often they are mild and include soreness from the injection, aches, and low grade fever. The flu vaccine, however, cannot give anyone the flu.

What YOU Can Do: Educate people about side effects and explain that they may occur as the body develops immunity. Point out that these symptoms are much less severe than getting the flu.


4. There are unsafe ingredients in flu shots.
Recent media speculation about vaccine safety may raise concerns about the flu shot. The vaccine, however, has a strong safety record. Healthcare providers can address questions and help patients make an informed choice.

What YOU Can Do: Encourage medical providers to talk to their patients about the flu vaccine and provide resources, such as brochures, posters, and PSAs, to encourage dialogue. Visit the CDC influenza Web site for free resources (www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/flugallery/index.htm).

3. Flu shots are expensive.
Flu shots average about $25-$35 a dose. Medicare Part B and Vaccines for Children provide flu shots at no cost to those who qualify. Many employers provide free vaccines to their employees, and university health centers often provide discounted immunizations for students. Even if paying out of pocket, the cost of a flu shot is far less than the costs associated with missing work and needing health care.

What YOU Can Do: Connect low and middle income people with resources to obtain free or reduced cost immunizations.

2. If I don’t get my flu shot early, than it’s not worth it.
There is no time limit on when to get flu vaccine. Immunization can begin as soon as the vaccine is available and can extend through February or later- when the flu season typically peaks.

What YOU Can Do: Promote National Influenza Vaccination Week from December 8-14th to encourage those not vaccinated to get their flu shot. Visit www.cdc.gov/flu for more information.

1. I don’t need to get immunized, because the flu is no big deal.
Many people mistakenly attribute cold symptoms, mild illness, and even digestive upset to the flu, not realizing that influenza is a serious, sometimes life threatening respiratory infection.

What YOU Can Do: Educate your community about the seriousness of the flu, so people understand the need for immunization. Personal narratives are effective ways to deliver this message. The CDC (www.cdc.gov/flu) and Families Fighting Flu Web sites (www.familiesfightingflu.org/) have videos and fact sheets to help with your outreach efforts.


All Passport Health Locations have Flu shots available immediately. All locations also offer on-site flu shot clinics for your convenience and the convenience of your co-workers and staff.

At Passport Health we are working hard to keep everyone healthy this flu season, so be sure to get your flu shot!

Thank you to the Immunizations Coalition for all the helpful information!

6 comments:

  1. I need some travel advice. My husband who is currently in England on business has come down with the flu. He is scheduled to return to Canada in 3days. If he still has flu symptoms, will he be permitted to travel via air?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good day, As far as we know they are not screening folks with colds or coughs at this time. They did during the SARS outbreak. You should still call your local immigration authority to find out the specifics. Influenza is highly contagious, but without an evaluation we can not give you medical advice. Your husband might have influenza which is a serious respiratory disease, or he might have something else.

    He is most likely contagious and should take precautions not to spread the disease to everyone on the plane. Making sure he always covers his mouth when he coughs, washing his hands frequently, even purchasing a tie on mask from a drugstore that he can wear in flight will not only reduce his germs spreading to others, but it will also help him reduce the risk of getting new germs from the other passengers.

    It is also a very good idea for you and the rest of your family to get a flu shot, so you can be protected.


    I hope he arrives safely home. Please let me know how he fairs.

    ReplyDelete
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