RMC urges public to get flu vaccinePublished 11:47am Friday, November 23, 2012
With flu season right around the corner, Russell Medical Center would like the public to know this is the time to consider getting a flu vaccine.
“The number one way to prevent the flu is to get this vaccine,” said Traci Kelley, RMC infection control coordinator. “There are other thigns you can do to prevent spreading germs – like coughing into your sleeve, sneezing into a tissue and using alcohol hand rub – but the number one defense is getting the vaccine.”
RMC takes strides to ensure its own staff is protected, Kelley said. The hospital offers free vaccines to employees, their spouses, volunteers, chaplains and physicians. So far, 68 percent of the hospital staff, Kelley said, has been vaccinated.
“We encourage everybody to get it – all people ages 6 months and older can get the vaccine,” Kelley said.
Kelley said the vaccine won’t get you sick, but may cause some flu-like symptoms.
Also, the benefits of the vaccine don’t begin immediately.
“It usually takes two weeks after the vaccination before you develop the flu antibodies,” Kelley said.
Kelley recommended getting the vaccine between Oct. 1 and March 31. Also, Kelley said that just because you have never got the vaccine doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it this year.
“We have found that when we ask people why they don’t get the vaccine the most common response is ‘I never have before,’” Kelley said. “We want to educate people that just because you have never gotten the flu shot or the flu, that doesn’t mean you won’t get sick this year.”
According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 3,000 to 49,000 die due to the flu every 30 years. Children younger than 5 and adults over the age of 65 are at the most risk for flu-related complications.
Kelley said most general practitioners have flu vaccines available and that those interested should contact their doctor.
For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/.