What Registered Nurses Need to Know
If you’re a registered nurse and reporting to work in a hospital or clinic every day, then you know how busy this year’s flu season is keeping you and your fellow staff. With any luck, the majority of R.N.s have already been vaccinated during National Influenza Vaccination Week, the first week of December, 2012. But since the United States is currently experiencing the peak in people coming down with flu symptoms and will continue to see numbers of infections surge through February, everyone—especially healthcare professionals—is being urged to take precautions and help others keep from getting the flu this year.
Nurse’s Notes: You can pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
According to the CDC, adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. Some persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others, so keep these key precautionary measures in mind.
- Stay away from sick people and stay home if sick.
- Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Thoroughly wash linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick; do not share them!
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill.
What Nurses Can Tell Concerned Patients
Advise patients seeking the flu vaccine on their options. They can get the flu shot or nasal spray and may be offered the regular, high dose or intradermal flu shot. The flu shot is recommended for anyone over 6 months in age.
- The intradermal shot is approved for people between the ages of 18 and 64.
- The high dose flu shot is given to elderly patients 65 and older.
- Nasal sprays are administered to people age 2 to 49, and are not recommended for pregnant women.
Find A Flu Shot Near You!
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is calling this the worst flu season in 10 years, and recorded a big spike in the baseline for office visits for influenza-like-illness in the U.S. this year. In fact, Boston has declared a Public Health Emergency and seen its major hospitals swamped. Massachusetts is one of the 41 states battling widespread influenza right now. The good news is, that based on early testing of flu specimens, the composition of the 2012-2013 seasonal influenza vaccine is a 98 percent match for the flu viruses now circulating: Influenza A (H3N2), 2009 influenza A (H1N1), and influenza B viruses have all been identified; a flu shot is still everyone’s best weapon in staying healthy! Click on the flu shot health map to find a flu shot near you—and stay healthy and wealthy in your pick of travel nurse jobs this year!