Cases of influenza have been far lower than usual since 2020, but is expected to increase over 2022 and will likely remain at higher contraction rates. The director of the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases says that children are the biggest spreaders of the disease, so with them returning to school, it is likely that the spread will resume more normal levels. They had expected some resumption of the illness over the 2021 and 2022 winter, and initially it started with a significant increase in influenza, but it quickly dropped off to lower than normal levels. It then went on to last much longer than the typical flu season, ending after May in some places. The mixture of unusual flu seasons and exhaustion of health concerns because of COVID-19, the director is concerned that people will not be careful about contracting this the flu, which could make it worse.
The COVID-19 pandemic did highlight the need for proper hygiene, particularly in terms of hand washing and more regularly disinfecting objects used by other people. These are good practices that can help reduce incidents of the flu.
Health care workers are often affected by contagious diseases. They’ve exercised the kind of health measures that other people took more seriously decades ago, as well as a few other good practices, such as exclusion from work when a medical professional shows signs of being sick. In health care centers, professionals work to create redundancy to reduce the risk of spreading illness to the staff and patients. Staff try to notice signs of respiratory problems that could indicate that someone has the flu so that they can quickly take protective measures to keep other patients and staff from exposure. Face masks are recommended for all respiratory issues, which was made more widely accepted because of COVID. However, one of the measures pushed by OSHA is to have any workers who are sick to stay home. It is also strongly recommended to get a flu vaccine. Vaccination in the medical field is not only good on an individual level, but it is responsible customer care because it reduces the amount of risk of exposure of the disease to their patients because they are less likely to contract and spread the flu.
Pharmacists are the medical professionals with the greatest percentage of people who get vaccinations, and the second most likely to get shots are doctors. Nurses are the least likely to get vaccinations, especially if it isn’t required. There are a number of reasons for this, but one of the most common reasons is the side effects that shots can cause. When the business provides onsite shots, it increases the likelihood of nurses getting shots, indicating that making time to go get shots outside of work is a reason why many nurses don’t get the shot. By making it easier to get shots with no real interruptions to their personal lives, nurses are more likely to get shots, which better protects patients.
To see how you are being protected when you visit a medical professional, you can get more details at Preventing Influenza in Health Care Setting.
* O’Connell and Associates provides this article for informational purposes only.