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This winter season, Palmeira reminds you that there are 3 things you can do to fight the flu.

  1. Get vaccinated
  2. Stop the spread of flu viruses by washing your hands frequently and using hand sanitizer
  3. Take antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

December 2-8 is National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) and Palmeira is reminding its patients and their family and friends of the importance of getting a flu shot this winter for extra protection. The message is that even if you didn’t get a flu shot back in September, it’s not too late.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), statistics from past seasons show that few people get vaccinated against influenza after the end of November. This slow down was the impetus for the CDC establishing National Influenza Vaccination week back in 2005 to remind people that even though the holiday season has begun, it is still recommended to get a flu vaccine.

As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout the flu season in order to protect as many people as possible against the flu. Even if you haven’t yet been vaccinated and have already gotten sick with the flu, you can still benefit from vaccination since the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses, depending upon which flu vaccine is taken.

The flu isn’t a “bad cold” and can result in serious health problems and complications such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. Flu can sometimes lead to death, particularly in those who already have a compromised health status.

During last year’s flu season, the CDC estimates the flu caused:

  • 49 million flu illnesses – more than the combined populations of Texas and Florida
  • 960,000 flu hospitalizations – more than the number of staffed hospital beds in the United States
  • 79,000 deaths – more than the average number of people who attend the Super Bowl each year

Everyone is at risk for serious flu-related complications and certain groups are at higher risk including young children, pregnant women, those with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people 65 years and older.

For people at high risk, getting the flu can be more serious than for other people. Flu is more likely to lead to serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or death. It is also important for family and friends of those under home-based care to also get vaccinated to protect those most vulnerable to serious flu illness such as older people and people with certain chronic health conditions.

Flu vaccination is an important tool in making sure our patients stay on track and achieve better outcomes. Thanks for doing your part!