With flu season officially here, three leading health organizations, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP), HealthyWomen and Families Fighting Flu, urge healthcare professionals to understand the influential role they have in flu prevention by proactively recommending an annual flu vaccination to patients to help protect against this serious and potentially deadly disease. Through this collaboration, Do You Know the Flu?, the organizations aim to arm and educate healthcare professionals to better understand how they have a profound and real impact on a person’s decision to receive an annual flu vaccination.
“It is our priority to strongly urge patient families to take advantage of available vaccines at each recommended age, including getting an annual flu vaccine for every family member over age 6 months,” said Tresa Zielinski, DNP, RN, APN-NP, CPNP-PC, and president of NAPNAP. “We cannot let this serious disease claim another young life.”
The flu is often overlooked or misunderstood as a disease that is slightly worse than the common cold; however, it poses serious risks for everyone, including healthy people. Children, even those who are healthy, are uniquely vulnerable because they are at a higher risk of developing complications from the flu, including hospitalization and even death.1 However, an annual flu vaccination has been shown to be the best preventive measure available to help protect against this highly contagious disease. In fact, a recent study was the first of its kind to demonstrate that an annual flu vaccination significantly reduced a healthy child’s risk of dying from the flu by as much as 65%.2,3 By making a strong recommendation to patients, and particularly parents, about the significant benefits of an annual flu vaccination for the entire family, healthcare professionals have the ability to directly and positively impact vaccination rates.4
“With flu season fast approaching, it is imperative for parents to get not only their children but also themselves vaccinated as soon as possible. As primary caretaker of the family, oftentimes women ignore their health, which can put them at risk,” said Beth Battaglino, RN, and CEO of HealthyWomen.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention everyone 6 months of age and older, with rare exception, should receive an annual flu vaccination to help protect themselves as well as to help prevent them from spreading flu to others. Everyone eligible for vaccination can help reduce the spread of the flu within their communities by getting vaccinated. This is particularly important for people in high risk categories, including babies younger than 6 months old who cannot receive a flu vaccination, people with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women.
“For more than ten years, Families Fighting Flu has been committed to flu prevention and education by working with our medical advisors and member families who have all experienced the devastating effects of the flu firsthand,” said Serese Marotta, chief operating officer of Families Fighting Flu. “We understand that life is busy, but no one should ever be too busy to get an annual flu vaccination – it only takes a few minutes to help protect yourself against this potentially deadly disease and help reduce the spread of flu to those around you.”
The Do You Know the Flu e-toolkit for healthcare professionals serves as a comprehensive resource on flu, including a firsthand perspective from a pediatric nurse practitioner about flu vaccination, personal stories of families significantly impacted by the flu, flu vaccination conversation talking points for healthcare professionals, flu facts and statistics, and educational materials to share with patients. The Do You Know the Flu educational initiative is made possible through an educational collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur. For more information and to download this important resource, please visit: www.familiesfightingflu.org.