Influenza, or the flu, is a serious disease which can lead to hospitalization or, in come cases, death. Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from serious flu-related complications.
Every flu season is different, ranging from mild cases to severe epidemics for weeks at a time. Even the most healthy people become very sick from the flu and can spread it to others. The “seasonal flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last well into May depending on the strength of the virus strain.
The best way to protect your employees against the flu is to offer vaccinations each year. The flu vaccination causes antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after the individual receives it. The antibodies then protect them against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
The season flu vaccine protects against the three most common flu viruses:
- Influenze B viruses
- Influenza A (H1N1) viruses
- Influenze A (H3N2) viruses
Each year, one flu virus of each type is used to produce the season flu vaccine.
There are two types of flu vaccines currently available.
Flu shot: An inactive vaccine which contains the killed or non-live virus is given with a needle, typically in the arm. There are three types of flu shot which dosage is based on the age of the individual. Adults from ages 18 to 64 years old receive the intradermal flue shot.
Nasal-Spray:* The nasal spray flu vaccine is made with live, but weakened flu viruses. This type of vaccine is sometimes called “live attenuated influenza vaccine” or LAIV. A common misconception is the nasal spray causes the flu. This is false. However, LAIV is only approved for healthy people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant.
*HealthCare for Business does not currently offer the nasal spray vaccination