November 21, 2017
Influenza poses a deadly threat to the 65+ population

Here are the latest recommendations for reducing patient risk in your LTC or SN facility

 

Each year, the Centers for Disease Control release updated guidelines on annual influenza vaccination for all persons aged 6 months and above. While flu shots are administered by pharmacies all across the United States, the practice is particularly vital for those working in long-term care. Seasonal illness can be fatal in the senior population, so it’s imperative that we take proper precautions as per the CDC’s official report.

Administrators are encouraged to consider the individual’s age, health status and other factors to determine the specific type of vaccine he or she receives. Most importantly, facilities are strongly urged to remind workers about their annual shots. Due to their direct contact with residents, personnel tend to be the main transmitters of the virus.

2017-2018 Flu Facts

85%

Estimated percentage of seasonal flu-related deaths attributed to people 65 and older

25%

Estimated percentage of long-term care staff who will develop some kind of influenza-like illness

78%

Percentage of health care personnel who received a flu shot for the 2016-2017 season

*Stats furnished by the Centers for Disease Control, 2017

Flu season typically begins in November and runs through May of the next year. The following is an abbreviated breakdown of this season’s influenza prevention guidelines. For more details, be sure to check out the CDC’s long-term care vaccination site and other in-depth guidelines from Pharmacist’s Letter.

Influenza 2017-2018

Top recommendations and reminders

Get your shots by the end of October

Don’t worry: it’s not too late to catch up. Just remember that it takes two weeks for antibodies to fully develop, so the earlier you get vaccinated, the better. Now that we’re heading into the start of winter, it’s a good time to remind nurses and staff to get their shots, if they haven’t already.

Up the dosage for people aged 65 and

older

Don’t worry: it’s not too late to catch up. Just remember that it takes two weeks for antibodies to fully develop, so the earlier you get vaccinated, the better. Now that we’re heading into the start of winter, it’s a good time to remind nurses and staff to get their shots, if they haven’t already.

Stay away from the nasal spray

For 2017-2018, the CDC says to avoid LAIV (the nasal spray vaccine) due to its minimal effect on many of the more widespread virus strains. Instead, stick with the traditional injectable flu shot.

Emphasis should be on high-risk

groups

As in previous years, the CDC stresses the importance ofvaccinating long-term care patients but also their caregivers and immediate family members. ‘High-risk’ people include those with pulmonary, hepatic, renal, cardiovascular, hematologic and metabolic disorders, as well as obese individuals and those living with diabetes.

Be mindful of proper handling

The CDC also specifies instructions for correctly storing supplies for both preservation and patient safety. Influenza vaccines should be stored in the refrigerator somewhere between 36 °F and 46 °F. Also, single-dose vials should never be used more than once.

Are you ready to weather flu season?

Keep your staff and patients happy and healthy with SRX by your side