RPN underscores importance of flu shot

Country Terrace sees 90% vaccination rate

November 5, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

While getting the flu shot is an option for long-term care home residents, there are many benefits to getting vaccinated this time of year, says Country Terrace registered practical nurse (RPN) and infection control lead Brenna Slota.

For starters, the vaccination reduces the chance of a person contracting the flu, which in turn reduces the odds of an outbreak in a long-term care home. The vaccine is also proven to boost the human immune system, says Slota.

Getting the vaccination is especially important for residents 65 and older

Getting the vaccination is especially important for residents 65 and older. Creative Commons photo.

Even if you get the flu after having the vaccination, the symptoms will not be as severe because the body has developed a defence from the antibodies in the vaccine, she notes.

This also reduces the risk of pneumonia and hospitalization, the RPN adds.

Once again, OMNI Health Care and its long-term care homes are encouraging residents and staff members to get vaccinated this flu season. As the vaccination campaign is coming to an end at Country Terrace, the Komoka long-term care has had a 90 per cent vaccination success rate, Slota says, adding there are some people — both residents and staff members — who had the flu shot for the first time.

Slota takes time to engage residents and family members about the importance of flu vaccination in keeping people safe at the home. There is also an infection-control awareness week at the home every October and Slota uses this time to educate staff members about the flu shot.

Getting the vaccination is especially important for residents 65 and older, she adds.

There may be an added benefit to the flu vaccination for those affected by heart disease, which is common amongst long-term care residents.

In a study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers discovered that the flu shot in people who have recently had a heart attack reduces risk of a serious cardiac event by 55 per cent after being vaccinated.

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If you have any feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

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