Flu season is officially upon us. Fortunately we haven’t seen much…yet. The flu is showing up in other parts of the country and sooner or later it will make its way to Clinton and the entire Golden Valley area.
This is the first year that GVMH implemented a mandatory flu vaccination plan. All staff and volunteers were required to receive the flu vaccine or decline and report the reason they chose to decline. I am proud to report that 80% of our staff received the flu shot and for the 20% who declined – there’s still time to change your mind! The decision to make the flu shot mandatory was, and is, controversial and there are differing viewpoints and I respect those viewpoints but, in the end, the AHA and many other hospitals support mandatory flu shots for health care workers.
The literature and research overwhelmingly supports requiring health care workers to get the flu shot. Getting a flu shot helps to protect our patients, your own health and the health of your families. This blog isn’t intended to start a debate on the merits of the flu shot, I am simply pointing out fact as supported by people who know a whole lot more about it than I do.
I do want to point out that GVMH will begin actively educating the public on how to prevent the spread of the flu. You will begin to see respiratory masks throughout all five of GVMH’s facilities and we will encourage people who have flu-like symptoms to wear the masks when entering our facility. We will also be encouraging people to use antibacterial foams and lotions to clean their hands when entering our buildings.
So what can you do. Be on the look out and encourage patients and family members to put on a mask if appropriate. Be sure there are alcohol gel dispensers in your work area and encourage staff, visitors and family members to use the gel or foam to clean their hands. Use the gel or foam yourself regularly throughout the day especially after coming in contact with any potentially contaminated surface – in reality any surface you touch could be contaminated! The most important thing you can do is to wash your hands frequently – remember the golden rule of medicine “first do no harm” and hand washing is the number one way to prevent the spread of disease and infection.
If you have additional questions about the flu, prevention of the flu or a description of flu-like symptoms, please contact Stephanie Ashworth at 890-7291.