We’ve all had that feeling — your throat is aching, just the thought of rolling out of bed makes your body hurt, and you’re shivering with a chill that not even your warmest blanket can cure. You cross your fingers it’s a cold and that whatever it is passes quickly. Flu season has officially arrived, and it’s time for your flu shot.
You may be looking for an effective way to reach your patients about the value of the flu shot, because few people may be rushing the doors of your practice to get the vaccine. To some, influenza does not seem like such a serious threat. In fact, fewer than eight in ten health care personnel got vaccinated in 2016. The main reason for not getting that vaccination? Not believing the shot was effective.
As one New York Times reader commented, “Are people routinely being destroyed by the flu or something?” The answer is yes. Last year’s flu season was particularly brutal, leaving a record-breaking number of victims in its wake. A total of 80,000 individuals died due to the flu and resulting complications in this country alone, the largest number of deaths in over 40 years according to the CDC. During one January week, the flu accounted for over 10% of this country’s deaths.
When you do your part to get a flu shot, you are protecting the children that are twice as likely and the elderly that are 10 times as likely to be hospitalized due to the flu. There’s power in numbers—during the 2015-2016 flu season, studies estimate that if just 5% more individuals had gotten the vaccine, they would have prevented around 10% of the illnesses and hospitalizations that year.