Veterans Memorial Hospital staff strives to keep community safe from the flu with a 95% immunization rate this year

The staff at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon has achieved a 95% flu immunization rate again this year. Nearly every staff member has been vaccinated against the flu by either a flu shot or the flu mist, in an effort to keep themselves and the patients they serve safe from spreading the flu virus this winter.
Sheryl Darling-Mooney, R.N., Public Health Supervisor of Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care, has worked together with hospital staff to achieve this high vaccination rate, which is one of the highest in the state.
“We highly encourage all staff members to receive the flu immunization each year for the safety of everyone around them, including themselves,” states Mooney.  “We feel it is our social responsibility to not only give the best care to our patients, but to care for our patients in the safest, healthiest environment as well, and we feel we are achieving just that.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends annual influenza vaccinations for everyone six months of age and older every year.   The CDC also highly encourages health care workers who have close contact with people at high risk for contracting a serious case of influenza to be immunized each year as well.
Influenza is a respiratory illness that most often causes fever, headache, extreme tiredness, muscle pain, dry coughing, sore throat and runny nose. In children, diarrhea sometimes accompanies the respiratory symptoms. The flu virus is spread when people who are ill cough or sneeze without covering their mouths and noses. Others get sick when they breathe in the air containing the flu virus. A person can also get the flu by touching a surface or object (like a door handle) that has been touched by someone with the flu (who coughed into their hand), and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.
Annual vaccination is the most effective way of preventing influenza and its complications. There are additional things you can do to protect yourself and your family:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve. If you use a tissue, throw it away after one use.
• Avoid being exposed to people who are sick with flu-like symptoms.
• Stay home from work or school when you are sick.
• Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and don’t smoke.
Since the flu is still going around this winter, Tara Reisinger, R.N., Infection Control Coordinator at Veterans Memorial Hospital, adds, “Remember to take personal actions to help prevent the spread of illness by remembering the 3C’s: Cover your coughs and sneezes; Clean your hands frequently; and Contain germs by staying home when ill. It’s a great idea to carry a bottle of hand sanitizer with you wherever you go.”
Flu shots are still available at Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care. Flu shots are recommended for all those who have not yet received the vaccine and will be effective throughout the rest of the flu season.
Flu shots are available without appointment each Wednesday afternoon during the weekly immunization clinic in the Community and Home Care Department located on the upper level of Veterans Memorial Hospital, Waukon. These immunization clinics are held from 1-6 p.m. the first and third Wednesday of each month, and from 1-4 p.m. all other Wednesdays.
For more information on the flu immunization, call the Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care Department, 563-568-5660.