Keeping Patients Safe During Flu Season

Michigan, like the rest of the country, is experiencing the widespread presence of the influenza virus.

Michigan, like the rest of the country, is experiencing the widespread presence of the influenza virus. Allegiance Health wants to remind our community that the best way to avoid getting the flu is to be vaccinated. It is not too late to do so. Flu vaccinations are available through area pharmacies, the health department and physician practices. Both Medicare and Medicaid cover the cost of the influenza vaccination.

In response to concerns about the effectiveness of this year’s influenza vaccine, Medical Director for the Allegiance Emergency Department Mark Smith, MD, said, “Flu vaccines are designed to protect against influenza viruses that research indicates will be the most common during the upcoming flu season. So far this year’s vaccine formulation is proving to be very effective in protecting against the flu for most people.”

For those who may be experiencing mild symptoms associated with the onset of the flu, such as low grade fever or chills, Dr. Smith strongly recommends staying home and resting. “Going out and being exposed to more germs or possibly exposing someone else to the flu is not a good idea. Staying at home and resting is best.” If, however, symptoms worsen, Dr. Smith advises a call to your doctor. If a visit to the physician’s office is not an option, Dr. Smith said Allegiance Express Care is the place to go. The Emergency Department is ready to care for patients who have severe symptoms.

To elevate patient safety this flu season, Allegiance Health implemented a new influenza vaccination policy requiring all Allegiance medical staff, volunteers, contractors and staff members to receive the flu vaccine. Dr. Smith said, "Vaccinating against flu across our health system was the right thing to do because it helps to protect our patients, our staff and our community as a whole. We are keeping patients safer throughout flu season and beyond."

Reliable, easy to understand information about the flu is available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/flu and at www.flu.gov. Learn to prevent the flu and recognize its symptoms, how the virus is spread, who should receive the vaccination, what to do if you get sick and how to care for a family member who is sick, along with other timely information.

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