Preparing for Influenza
Each year the health care industry in the United States and other locations prepares for new varieties of influenza. Several health organizations from various countries work together while exchanging vital information concerning virus samples. The exchange of information helps medical scientists and researchers to create a new version of influenza vaccine each year. Often, different geographic regions receive a specially formulated vaccine.
Researchers base the most recent influenza vaccine on how well it worked in preventing infection in previous years, where the current influenza viruses are spreading and the discovery of new viruses. The most recent vaccine has been designed to protect against the three most prevalent influenza viruses. However, individuals must still use precautions such as frequent hand washing to avoid contagious diseases.
Creating The Influenza Vaccine
The months of October through May are considered the most likely time to become ill with influenza in the United States. The health care industry throughout the United States plans several months in advance to assist the public with avoiding contracting influenza.
Pharmaceutical laboratories develop, create and package the most recent influenza vaccine in various formats. Then the influenza vaccines must be distributed correctly to various geographic regions while also being delivered in a timely manner. The goal of the employees who work for health care facilities is for all individuals age 6-months and older to receive a vaccination for influenza each year. When more individuals are immunized with the influenza vaccine, there are fewer risks of pandemics or epidemics occurring.
High Risk Groups
When there is a shortage of influenza vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is managed by the Department of Health and Human Services provides new recommendations. These recommendations are designed to protect individuals who are at a higher risk of danger from influenza.
Health care workers will begin by immunizing children under the age of 4 and infants over the age of 6-months. Individuals who are over the age of 49 are also at higher risk of flu. Chronic health conditions such as diabetes mellitus, metabolic conditions, lung disorders, immunological suppression and others can lead to receiving a vaccine for influenza during a shortage. Additional groups who are at higher risk from influenza include health care workers, nursing home residents, pregnant women and others.
Preventing Spread of Influenza
The health care industry must be careful to not vaccinate individuals who have experienced an allergic response to previous influenza vaccines or eggs. Additional vaccination criteria have been established for using particular formats of the influenza vaccine such as nasal spray or high dose. As the influenza season approaches, the health care industry informs the public about the importance of vaccination.
Informational campaigns use media such as television, radio, internet, billboards and others. Data is collected from physician’s offices, hospitals, long-term medical facilities and other locations to keep track of incidences of influenza. During influenza outbreaks in particular geographic locations, visiting those areas may be restricted.
Schools, businesses and other buildings may be closed to prevent individuals from contracting and spreading the influenza virus. Medical facilities can also choose to isolate patients who have influenza to prevent spreading this infectious condition. As influenza is considered a public health risk, education is important to keep the spread to a minimum.
As our society continues to grow, the spread of illness and disease will be a constant public health risk. Through education, precaution and preparation, the health care industry can remain one step ahead. Knowing the risks is the responsibility of everyone and everyone should do their part to reduce the spread of illness.