It is vital that health care workers, including nurses, get vaccinated against the flu. There are few professions where you will come into as much contact with the virus, so it is important to protect yourself against infection and against spreading the infection to your patients. If you are part of the 20% to 31% of nurses who still aren’t getting the flu vaccine, here are some important things to consider:
- The flu vaccine is safe. Although some people may feel a little ill for a few days after the vaccination, the symptoms are much milder and of shorter duration than those of the flu.
- Nurses are valuable. If there is a pandemic, nurses will be some of the most important players in providing care and keeping infection under control. You will be unavailable to take care of your patients if you are among those who are infected.
- The flu is serious. Around 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized due to the flu each year, and as many as 49,000 die. It is far from the minor inconvenience that many people believe it to be.
- You can get it more than once. Even if you have already had the flu this season, you can become infected again by another strain. As such, you should get vaccinated even if you have already been sick to avoid the chance of being miserably ill twice.
- The vaccine changes each year. Just because you had the flu vaccine last year doesn’t mean you can skip your vaccine this year. Each year’s vaccine is designed to combat the most prevalent strains that are currently active.
This flu season, make sure you can take care of your patients by taking care of yourself. Get your flu vaccination and make sure you encourage others to do the same. It only takes a few minutes to get the shot, but those few minutes can make all the difference in your health.