Chances are, Patient Zero is in one of your classrooms right now.
You know, Patient Zero: the first child or client in your facility to contract the flu. The one who will likely unknowingly give it to others — and to your staff.
The one who could even die, because flu can and does kill people, especially children. Last flu season alone, 146 children died from flu-related deaths from 40 states; that number is typically closer to 100.
Eight of those children were in Nevada.
While the CDC recommends the flu vaccine as the best way to protect against the flu — and advises that everyone over the age of 6 months gets an annual flu vaccine — fewer than 40 percent of Nevadans actually get it.
This is why we’re writing to you today; we are here to ask for your help communicating with your parents and staff, in an effort to increase vaccination rates and keep our community healthy.
Primarily, we are hoping those of you with computerized check-in/out mechanisms will allow us to help craft a brief message to display to parents prior to them being allowed to conduct their check-in business. This will simply be a reminder about the CDC recommendations about flu vaccines — every person over 6 months of age, every year — as well as a reminder about timeliness: the CDC recommends vaccination as soon as vaccines are available, which is now.
The fact is, flu is more than just a bad cold or fever. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death and illness from a vaccine-preventable disease in the United States. According to the CDC:
- Children commonly need medical care because of influenza, especially before they turn 5 years old.
- Severe influenza complications are most common in children younger than 2 years old.
- Annually, an average of 20,000 children under 5 are hospitalized because of flu complications.
- More than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized and thousands die every year from the influenza virus.
- Flu causes 38 million lost school days and 111 million lost workdays a year, resulting in more than $7 billion in lost wages.
- The median age of children who died from the flu virus from Jan. 2014-June 2015 was 5.9 years old.
Keeping your staff healthy is the best way to keep your children — and their parents — happy and healthy as well. By encouraging your staff members to get a flu vaccine, you’re ensuring that they’re able to work and provide for their families, while also protecting those in your care from potentially getting the flu.
The bottom line: Flu vaccine is your best chance at not getting sick from the flu. And it works:
- The estimated number of flu-associated illnesses prevented by flu vaccination during the 2013-14 season: 7.2 million — enough people to form a line from Maine to Oregon.
- The estimated number of flu-associated medical visits prevented by vaccination during the 2013-14 season: 3.1 million — more than the population of the city of Chicago.
- The estimated number of flu hospitalizations prevented during the 2013-14 season: 90,000 — enough to fill Madison Square Garden four times.
This is a virtual toolkit of materials for use within your organization. Download via the links below, and please duplicate these materials as necessary and feel free to tailor them to fit your specific needs.
- A poster your staff areas.
- Newsletter articles and social media posts.
- Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest for content you can easily share on your own social media outlets.
- If you’re interested in offering a flu vaccine clinic at your location, you can get more information at http://www.influencenevada.org/hostyourownclinic. At the same website, you’ll also find links for flu vaccine locations. In addition, many local pharmacies offer the flu vaccine.
We will continue to provide updated information at www.influencenevada.org/toolkit. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest for content you can easily share on your own social media outlets.
If you’re interested in offering a flu vaccine clinic at your location, you can get more information at http://www.influencenevada.org/hostyourownclinic. At the same website, you’ll also find links for flu vaccine locations. In addition, many local pharmacies offer the flu vaccine.
Please give us a call if you have any additional questions. Thank you for your help keeping Nevada healthy!