Study Shows Vaccines Are Most Effective Way to Prevent Flu in Older Citizens

According to the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute on Aging, an average of 226,000 people are hospitalized annually with flu-related symptoms and the rate is higher for the elderly with 560 hospitalizations per 100,000 people. The highest rate of death from flu related symptoms is in those seniors 85 years old and older.
A study done by the university states vaccination is the still the most effective way to prevent influenza from stiking older adults.
The Centers for Disease Control offers the following suggestions for keeping the flu from having a major impact on long term health care facilities:
Promote and administer seasonal influenza vaccine
Take steps to minimize potential exposures
Monitor and manage ill healthcare personnel
Adhere to standard precautions
Adhere to droplet precautions
Use caution when performing aerosol-generating procedures
Manage visitor access and movement within the facility
Monitor influenza activity
Implement environmental infection control
Implement engineering controls
Train and educate healthcare personnel
Administer antiviral treatment and chemoprophylaxis of patients and healthcare personnel when appropriate
The university study suggestes that multiple sources claim vaccinating health care workers against the flu not only reduces their risk of contracting the flu, but also reduces the mortality rate of nursing home residents, regardless of whether the residents have been vacinated.
The CDC categorizes healthcare workers as all employees, contractors, attending physicians, and volunteers with patient contact including housekeepers, dietary staff, chaplains, hospice workers, and candy stripers.
It is also recommended that visitors alert facility personnel if they have any respiratory symptoms and to take precautions such as wearing masks if symptoms are present or limiting visits until symptoms clear. It is suggested long term care facilities provide masks and/or hand hygiene supplies to visitors during peak flu season.

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