Preparing for Flu Season in North America
In many parts of North America the flu season arrives as early as the fall. Each year an estimated 5-20% of the US population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are estimated to be hospitalized from flu complications. It is important to note that the H1N1 virus that caused a global pandemic is now considered a regular human flu virus and continues to circulate seasonally worldwide. Accordingly, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.
Protect Yourself and Your Family with the Flu Vaccine
While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the main flu viruses that government research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season.
This year’s flu vaccine includes 3 strains (trivalent) or 4 strains (quadrivalent) of the virus.The trivalent vaccine protects against 1 strain from last year and 2 new strains. These are:
- Influenza A (H1N1)
- Influenza A (H3N2)
- Influenza B
The quadrivalent vaccine protects against the same 3 strains as the trivalent vaccine, and it adds a second influenza B strain (the same one added to last season’s quadrivalent vaccine). One flu vaccine is not preferred over another.
The vaccine can protect you and your family from getting sick from these viruses or it can make your illness milder if you get a different flu virus. See the CDC’s Vaccine Benefits for more information.
This year you have the option of flu shot, flu mist for children, and high dose flu shot for the older population or people on chemotherapy. For many in North America, now is the time to get the vaccine, since it can take a few weeks for the antibodies to develop in the body to provide protection.
How Fonemed’s Flu Hotline Helped in the Fight Against H1N1
After the WHO declaration of a pandemic on June 11, the 2009 H1N1 virus continued to spread and the number of countries reporting cases of 2009 H1N1 nearly doubled from mid-June 2009 to early July 2009. Fonemed assisted in fighting this outbreak by establishing a flu hotline that helped patients exhibiting the virus’s symptoms to connect with registered nurses via the telephone. Fonemed provided nurse advice and information for dealing with the flu and, when necessary, provided referrals to vaccination sites or the appropriate primary care facility. Fonemed’s nurses provided individual encounter reports, aggregate statistics and outcome tracking by communicating real-time reports to the appropriate health authority.
How Fonemed’s Disease Hotline Can Help Your Organization Fight the Flu
For governments, private employers or member benefit organizations, Fonemed’s Flu Hotline offers callers with a number of critical services. Fonemed’s professional nursing staff provides our clients with preventative measures to reduce Flu risk, the status of outbreaks in their schools, workplaces and neighborhoods as well as locations for vaccinations. We are able to leverage our unique population health management platform to rapidly identify outbreaks of the flu virus in geographic areas when symptoms first appear and monitor trends as they develop.
Fonemed also works with public health and school authorities across the country, including those individuals in the CDC’s highest risk categories (e.g., teachers, first responders, caregivers, etc.), and provides these individuals with reliable information about their own risk factors and the appropriate measures to reduce their exposure to the virus. Our team of experienced registered nurses can help address the symptoms of Flu (and other communicable diseases) as well as offer steps for home-based care or provide the location of appropriate primary care facilities when required.
If your organization is looking to protect your population against the flu, contact us today and see how together we can fight the flu with a customized disease hotline.