Being Unvaccinated is the Main Reason Patients Who Have the Flu Become Hospitalized

kids with the fluOf those who have the flu and become hospitalized, only 23.6% of them have been vaccinated according to a research letter published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Hospital records from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. were reviewed for all 55 hospitalized patients who tested positive for the influenza virus between Nov. 1, 2013, and Jan. 8, 2014 (median age, 28.5 years).

“Our observations support encouraging influenza vaccination for all individuals without a contraindication as this may prevent severe lower respiratory tract complications requiring ICU level care,” the authors of the research letter write.

When will flu activity begin and when will it peak?

The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.

What should I do to prepare for this flu season?

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the top three or four flu viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. People should begin getting vaccinated soon after flu vaccine becomes available, ideally by October, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins. You can take everyday preventive steps like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others.

What should I do to protect my loved ones from flu this season?

Encourage your loved ones to get vaccinated as soon as vaccine becomes available in their communities, preferably by October. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for serious flu complications, and their close contacts.

Children between 6 months and 8 years of age may need two doses of flu vaccine to be fully protected from flu. Your child’s healthcare provider can tell you whether two doses are recommended for your child. Visit Children, the Flu, and the Flu Vaccine for more information.

Children younger than 6 months are at higher risk of serious flu complications, but are too young to get a flu vaccine. Because children younger than 6 months cannot get a vaccine, but are at high risk for serious flu-related complications, safeguarding them from flu is especially important. If you live with or care for an infant younger than 6 months of age, you should get a flu vaccine to help protect them from flu. See Advice for Caregivers of Children Younger than 2 Years Old for more information.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you and your loved ones can take everyday preventive steps like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading influenza to others.

When should I get vaccinated?

CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against flu soon after vaccine becomes available, preferably by October. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. Doctors and nurses are encouraged to begin vaccinating their patients soon after vaccine becomes available, preferably by October so as not to miss out on opportunities to vaccinate. Those children aged 6 months through 8 years who need two doses of vaccine should receive the first dose as soon as possible to allow time to get the second dose before the start of flu season. The two doses should be given at least 4 weeks apart.

Flu Vaccination Resources

>> Pediatrics of Florence Flu Vaccination Information
>> CDC’s “What You Should Know for the 2014-2015 Influenza Season” Page

 

Contact Us (859-525-8181) if you have any questions about this subject. We would be happy to discuss this with you.

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