Flu Vaccination Season - Recap and Resources for Nurses
Published: 20 April 2017
Published: 20 April 2017
‘The annual National Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Program will commence in April 2017.’
(NSW Health 2017)
This article is a quick brush up on injection technique and a reminder about what the ‘flu vacc.’ is. Obviously, you will need to be familiar with, and work according to, your workplace organisational policies, procedures and protocols, as well as professional and ethical standards. Below we will examine information put forward by the New South Wales State and Australian Governments as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO).
‘The flu’ or influenza is very contagious and spreadable by close contact, contact with infected hands, contact with infected hard surfaces, sneezing, or coughing.
Signs such as: headache, runny nose, decreased appetite, chills, tiredness, sore muscles, fever, and sore throat can occur (usually around 3 days post-infection); and serious (potentially fatal) complications of the flu can involve sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia and even complications of the heart, liver and blood (Department of Health, 2017).
There are three different types of influenza viruses that infect humans. They are influenza A, B and C. ‘Only influenza A and B cause major outbreaks and severe disease, and these types are included in seasonal influenza vaccines’ (Department of Health, 2017).
From your experience working in healthcare or your health studies, you are probably aware that the groups most at risk of the dangers or complications of the flu are: older adults, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, very young children, and people with medical conditions (Department of Health, 2017).
It is important to note also that ‘Immunisation providers should report influenza vaccines given to all people to the Australian Immunisation Register (taking care to note the correct vaccine brand name).’; and, that ‘Immunisation providers should report any suspected adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) directly to their local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.’ (NSW Health 2017).
This year, the flu shot will be available throughout April from GP surgeries and other providers. It is available free under the Nationa Immunisation Program for people who face a ‘high risk’ from influenza, though is recommended for all people over six months old (Department of Health 2017).
In 2017, four age-specific vaccines will be available under the National Immunisation program. Visit the Australian Government Department of Health website for more information and the names of each vaccine (‘parents should make sure vaccination providers know the age of their child so they can receive the correct vaccine’) (2017).
Other points to be aware of:
(Department of Health 2017)
(Department of Health, page updated 6th March 2017).
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Madeline Gilkes, CDE, RN, is a Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine. She focused her Master of Healthcare Leadership research project on health coaching for long-term weight loss in obese adults. Madeline has found a passion for preventative nursing. She has transitioned from leadership roles (CNS Gerontology & Education, Clinical Facilitator) in the acute/hospital setting to education management and primary healthcare. Madeline’s vision is to implement lifestyle medicine to prevent and treat chronic conditions. Her research proposal for her PhD involves Lifestyle Medicine for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Madeline is a Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE) and primarily works in the academic role of Head of Nursing. Madeline’s philosophy focuses on using humanistic management, adult learning theories/evidence and self-efficacy theories and interventions to promote positive learning environments. In addition to her Master of Healthcare Leadership, Madeline has a Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Education & Management, Graduate Certificate in Adult & Vocational Education, Graduate Certificate of Aged Care Nursing, and a Bachelor of Nursing. She is working towards her PhD. See Educator Profile