Seasonal influenza is associated with approximately 150,000 hospital admissions and as many as 49,000 deaths annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To help the public understand the dangers of the flu and the importance of vaccination, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) is joining with the American Hospital Association (AHA) and other healthcare organizations to unite against the flu during National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 7-13, 2014).
The CDC reports that this flu season will likely be more severe, with a higher rate of illness and hospitalization. CDC recommends three steps to stay healthy:
1. Get a flu vaccine. Vaccination offers the best protection against the flu.
2. If you have the flu, talk to your doctor about getting an antiviral treatment which can minimize your symptoms. If you have a high-risk health condition, such as heart disease, lung disease, asthma, or diabetes, contact your doctor right away.
3. Take everyday actions to prevent the spread of germs like covering your cough, washing your hands frequently, and staying home if you are sick.
There is still time to get your flu shot. Even healthy people can get sick enough to miss work or school for a significant amount of time or even be hospitalized.
For more information on seasonal influenza, visit the CDC webpage. Additional consumer materials are located on the AHA United Against the Flu webpage and the APIC website.