How prepared are you to answer your patients’ questions about flu shot effectiveness? Some of your patients may think the flu shot causes the flu. Others may believe it’s unnecessary. If they develop flu symptoms, help persuade them otherwise. After all, your job is to keep them as healthy and safe as possible!
Who Should Get a Flu Shot
Flu symptoms are common among people of all ages. Symptoms include sneezing, sniffling, coughing, aching, and fevers. Remind your patients that you never know who or what you expose yourself to once you leave your house. When you get a flu shot, you do your part to protect yourself and those around you. As a nurse, encourage your patients to be proactive and get their flu shots early in the fall.
Where to Get Flu Shots
Where are you looking for your next travel nurse assignment? The good news is that – despite your location – you should be able to get a flu shot just about anywhere! The influx in the number of people seeking the flu shot has made the vaccine a lot more accessible. If your patients don’t know, tell them they don’t have to go to a doctor’s office. The shot is available at local drugstores, and even some grocery stores! Although it’s easy to think that patients have already educated themselves on the flu shot, that’s not always the case. It‘s crucial to educate patients on the vaccine, and what it really does.
What to Tell Your Patients About Flu Shot Effectiveness
Here are 5 things your patients need to know before getting a flu shot.
1. The best time to get vaccinated.
Flu shots are typically available from September to January, although this depends on how common the virus is that year. Tell your patients that it’s best to get your flu shot as soon as it becomes available. This will lessen their chances of contracting the virus. Most medical professionals recommend getting the vaccine by October.
2. How quickly the vaccine works.
It’s important for your patients to know that it takes about two to three weeks for optimum flu shot effectiveness. Our bodies need this time to develop the antibodies needed to fight off the virus. Inform your patients of this timeframe. Ask them if they will be around others at risk of getting sick. Tell them they want to be cautious during the first two to three weeks.
3. You can still contract the flu virus, even after you’ve gotten the vaccine.
It’s not impossible to get the flu after vaccination. The flu shot provides you with a boost of antibodies to fight off that season’s flu. Although, the flu virus is always changing, which at times makes the shot less effective. The chances of you contracting the flu, even after the shot, depend on many other factors as well, such as age and health.
4. The side effects of the flu shot.
Before you administer the shot, discuss that the side effects to the flu shot aren’t usually extreme. Common side effects include soreness, low fevers, and body aches. Sometimes, the area around the shot feels tender to the touch.
5. There’s more than one kind of flu shot.
Consider the patient’s age and current health conditions. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention approves flu shots for people ages 18-64. There are other shots for patients as young as six months old. There is a nasal spray substitute for the flu shot, for patients as young as two years old. But, the nasal spray has more side effects than the shot. Bring up all these factors to your patients before the shot. This way, you guarantee that your patient is getting exactly what they want.
To ensure your patients leave happy, healthy and educated, discuss these 5 facts about the flu shot with them before administering the vaccine! What questions do your patients have about the flu? Share them with us in the comments!