What You and Your Patients Should Know About the Flu This Season

December 18, 2017

By Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH, Director of the CDC Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

As an oncology nurse, you know the prevention of any infection is critical to patients. This couldn’t be truer than with flu. Although not all illnesses are preventable, the flu vaccine is the first and best way that patients with cancer can protect themselves from flu. Oncology nurses should keep the following new information for the 2017–2018 flu season in mind.

Also notable is a new study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases (https://academic.oup.com/cid/article-abstract/65/8/1289/3836421), which showed that the flu vaccination reduced severe outcomes in patients hospitalized with flu. This study is an important step in better understanding whether flu vaccines can reduce severe flu outcomes even if they fail to protect against infection. Because patients with cancer are at a higher risk for getting complications from flu, this is yet another reason why our patients with cancer need to get the flu vaccine.

Patient Education

Inform your patients about everyday actions they can take to protect themselves from getting flu:

And stress to patients that quick action is vital:

Nurses should also take steps to stay healthy during this flu season, including making sure they’re vaccinated so they can’t transmit flu to patients.

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