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Fight the flu with the flu shot

WebMD® says, on average, 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population will get the flu each year. Of those, 200,000 people are hospitalized, and somewhere between 3,000 and 49,000 die of flu-related complications. Flu-related hospitalization and outpatient visits cost $10.4 billion annually. Yet only 46 percent of Americans get the flu shot each year.

As healthcare providers, you know the risks of the flu and the potential benefits of vaccination. This e-newsletter offers tips on fighting the flu through education, flu vaccination clinics and employer-sponsored flu-shot days.

  • Educate: There are numerous reasons people choose not to get a flu vaccination. Some cite good health and think they don’t need one. Others believe they can catch the flu virus from the vaccine. And, still others think that the potential for vaccination complications outweighs the benefits. As healthcare providers, you provide the facts. Cold-and-flu prevention books and pocket sliders are great waiting-room reads that can help debunk common myths. You may also want to imprint countertop banners with flu facts.
  • Promote: Some patients either forget or put off getting their flu shot. As healthcare providers, you can help them remember. When flu shots become available, mail a Tissue Wallet to your patients, alerting them you have the vaccine and reminding them to make an appointment. If flu shots aren’t part of your facility’s service offerings, you may want to point patients in the right direction through a tool like the HealthMap® Vaccine Finder. Imprint the tool’s website address on a cold-and-flu kit to distribute to your patients with a note, reminding them you care about their wellness and want them to stay healthy.
  • Offer flu clinics: Flu-shot clinics can be a convenient and effective way to promote the flu shot. For onsite clinics, promote flu shots with pre-recorded phone messages, social media posts, email blasts, direct mail, banners and buttons. Or, consider partnering with local businesses. Some employers offer free flu shots to their staff because, according to the CDC, lost productivity due to the flu can cost employers $6.2 billion dollars each year.

The flu is an inevitable part of the upcoming season. But healthcare providers can do their part to minimize it by promoting and educating patients on the potential benefits of the flu vaccination. Good luck, and stay healthy!

“Flu Statistics: What Are Your Odds of Getting the Flu?” WebMD. WebMD, 15 Apr. 2015. Web. Retrieved 03 July 2015.

“Make It Your Business To Fight the Flu: Promoting the Seasonal Flu Vaccine.” (n.d.): n. pag. www.cdc.gov. Web. Retrieved 03 July 2015.

Szabo, Liz. “Fewer than half in USA get flu shots, CDC says.” USA Today. Gannett, 18 Sept. 2014. Web. Retrieved 03 July 2015.

Dallas, Mary Elizabeth. “10 Excuses for Not Getting a Flu Shot Busted.” EverydayHealth.com. N.p., 31 Oct. 2014. Web. Retrieved 03 July 2015.

How Influenza Immunization Can Enhance Your Bottom Line (n.d.): n. pag. www.prevent.org. Web. Retrieved 03 July 2015.

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