Tag Archives: vaccinate

Here’s How Health Care Workers Can Protect Themselves As Well As Older Adults And The Chronically Ill From The Flu

Given the widespread flu activity in South Carolina and across the nation, it is important for vulnerable populations, such as people 65 and older and those living with chronic medical conditions, to get vaccinated.

The flu is a serious health threat to people in those groups, who account for the majority of flu hospitalizations and deaths in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you live with or care for high-risk persons, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and those you care for during flu season.

Health care staff should get vaccinated 

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent the flu, and DHEC and the CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated annually.

It is recommended that health care workers be vaccinated against the flu. Some employers require vaccination. Staff in doctors’ offices, hospitals and long-term care facilities have direct or indirect contact with patients.  Health care staff are at risk not only of becoming infected with influenza at work, but also of spreading it to patients and coworkers.

It’s important for staff to get vaccinated

Vaccination of long-term health care staff is especially important because most of their patients are elderly or have chronic health issues and are at higher risk of flu complications.  Residents and staff in long-term care facilities often have regular close contact.  According to the CDC, studies show that during a confirmed influenza outbreak in a long-term care facility, up to one in three residents and one in four staff develop an influenza-like illness.

Visit the CDC’s website to see how to improve vaccination coverage among long-term health care personnel. Visitors at the website also can access an influenza toolkit for long-term care employers.

You can still get a flu shot

It’s not too late to get your flu vaccine!  Even if you don’t have a regular health care provider the flu vaccine is available in many settings. In addition to DHEC clinics, many local providers — including doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, college health centers, schools and workplaces — now offer flu vaccines. DHEC encourages everyone to find the facility that works best for them.

Flu vaccines offered at DHEC Health Department clinics are available by appointment. Call 1-800-868-0404 to make an appointment or go to scdhec.gov/flu/FluClinics to find the location closest to you. For more information about the flu, visit scdhec.gov/flu.

Protect Yourself and Baby: Get Your Flu Shot

Catching the flu is never good, especially when you’re pregnant. The flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than those who are not pregnant. DHEC is encouraging pregnant women to get their flu shots.

As of November 2017, the influenza vaccination coverage among pregnant women before and during pregnancy was 35.6 percent, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Panel Survey.

“The percentage is alarming because it means that almost two-thirds of pregnant women are potentially not protected,” said Dr. Tracy Foo, DHEC’s Immunization and Acute Disease Epidemiology Division. “Pregnant women are encouraged to get their flu shot because it’s never too late to protect yourself and your baby.”

The flu shot is the first and most important step in protecting against the illness. When given during pregnancy, the flu shot has been shown to protect both the mother and baby for several months after birth. The flu shot can be administered during any trimester of pregnancy.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms may include a sudden onset of fever, cough, headache or muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion or stuffiness. Any pregnant woman experiencing these symptoms is urged to contact their healthcare provider immediately. The flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.

Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, and pharmacies, as well as by many employers. Even if you don’t have a regular doctor or nurse, you can get a flu vaccine somewhere else like a health department, pharmacy, and urgent care clinic. You can find your local flu clinic on DHEC’s website.