Friday, October 1, 2010

Flu Season Q and A with Sinergia's Nursing Staff Coordinator

As fall gets underway it's that time of the year again when we need to disseminate important information about the Influenza virus, commonly known as the "flu". Last year the H1N1 outbreak caused more illness in young people and pregnant women than usual, and although the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an end to the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, the same virus is expected to circulate again this flu season, along with other seasonal flu viruses.Click  her for more on the current situation.

We asked Sinergia's Nursing Coordinator, Asuncion Muyalde BSN-RN, some basic facts to keep in  mind.

What is Flu? 
As defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it is a contagious illness caused by the influenza viruses. It can be mild to severe and at times lead to hospitalization and even death.

When I should get the Influenza vaccine? 
Annual outbreaks of the seasonal flu usually occur during the late fall through early spring. The best time to get the vaccination will be during the month of October and November.

What is the biggest issue for persons with disabilities and their parents?
The dissemination of information is the number one issue – knowing the importance of getting a vaccination and where to get one.
Most people that don’t get flu shots don’t think they need one until the peak of the season when they get sick and sometimes it’s too late.

Where I can get the vaccine? 
Your primary care physician will offer shots. However, children and adults with disabilities often have a certain set schedule to visit their doctor and get follow ups, and they have to wait until there is an appointments available in their area. So in addition, the Department of Health has immunization clinics in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx that offer flu shots at no cost, and also many pharmacies offer them for a nominal fee. In New York, check out CVS, Duane Reade and Walgreen's. Last year Sinergia was a recipient of donations from the DOH; not only for our consumers but for those in our staff who needed it. I have forwarded our request to Department of Health to receive free flu shots again this year and am awaiting their response.

Some say getting the vaccine has more health risks than not getting it. Is that true?

Some people have heard that flu shots will harm their child or that there will be bad side effects so they won't take the vaccination. There may be minimal side effects - like a low grade fever - but these are not fatal or deadly. Your doctor will explain that to you and they always do a pre-assessment questionnaire beforehand in case you have allergies or have had a bad reaction in the past.

Who needs to get vaccinated?
  • People 65 years of age and older
  • Younger people at high risk from influenza and its complications, including children 6 through 23 months of age
  • Residents of Long Term Care Facilities
  • People with long-term health problems such as:
    -lung disease
    -anemia, and other blood disorders       
    -metabolic disease such as diabetes
    -heart disease
    -kidney disease
  • People with weakened immune system
  • Household contacts of people at high risk
  • Healthcare workers, and
  • Children younger than 9 years of age getting influenza for the first time
The Nursing Team urges parents and caretakers of the disabled to seek information on getting vaccinations. Any questions please feel free to call us at ext. 361.

For more useful tips and resources visit

1 comment:

CNA Certifcation said...

All the question answer part of this post which i feel a really informative not only for the viewers of this post but for the nursing students too.