National Influenza Vaccination Week

National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is a national observance that was established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) in 2005 to raise awareness and advocate for the flu vaccination through the winter season and beyond. NIVW is scheduled for December 7-13, 2014. Seasonal influenza, often referred to simply as “the flu,” associated with approximately 200,000 hospital admissions and as many as 49,000 deaths annually in the United States, according to the CDC.

Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The flu is caused by influenza viruses, which target respiratory areas such as the nose, throat, and lungs. This virus can cause severe illness and even life-threatening complications. In the United States, an estimated 5 to 15 percent of the population is affected by the virus each year. The flu can live on surfaces between two to eight hours. There is still time to get your flu shot. Even healthy people can get sick enough to miss work or school for a significant amount of time or even be hospitalized. Flu activity usually peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.

There was an advisory that this season would have a possibly potent strain of the flu, but so far experts say that hasn’t been the case. In fact we saw this patient with Influenza A diagnosed early in September and we said oh this is going to be a bad season, but then it maintained itself and we’ve really seen a mild influenza season. Doctors project a calm outlook for the rest of the year, there is still the possibility of an uptick in cases. Influenza isn’t a bad cold, or a stomach virus. The vaccine can help to prevent the flu and keep those risk factors from causing problems. Even though the vaccine can be helpful,it’s still up to the individual.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. Most experts believe that you get the flu when a person with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks and droplets containing their germs land in your mouth or nose.You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose. It’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year. The flu vaccine is formulated to keep up with the flu viruses as they change. The vaccine can last up to a year and this year’s vaccine will be available until June. You can get the vaccines at many pharmacies and clinics. Over the years, hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines. Once vaccinated, you can enjoy this holiday season knowing that you have taken the single best step to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu.

Celeste Botonakis

On the Nursing Assistant Guides blog, certified medical assistant Celeste Botonakis explores the daily life of a CMA. She'll keep you up-to-date with the latest on what’s happening in the field, and provides tips for those who are interested in becoming a medical or nursing assistant. Celeste has served in the medical field for over six years, and is passionate about helping people. She currently works at CSR Primary Care in Skokie, Illinois. Click here to learn more about Celeste Botonakis and