HEALTH AND WELFARE

National Influenza Vaccination Week: How not to get sick this December

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The 1st of December did not only mark the first day of National AIDS Awareness Month but also marked the National Influenza Vaccination Week. The awareness week was first established in 2005 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reminding us that even though the holiday season has arrived, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine. This week encourages colleagues, patrons and community members to protect themselves against flu and prevent influenza-associated hospitalizations.

CDC has worked with South Africa since 2007 to help build surveillance and laboratory capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to influenza threats through the Influenza Program. The Influenza Program provides technical expertise and financial resources to support national respiratory surveillance, pandemic preparedness, applied research, and implementation of influenza vaccine policy in South Africa.

The program also works closely with public and private entities to describe the burden of influenza and develop a national policy on influenza vaccine use, especially in high-risk groups such as those with HIV infection. Flu vaccination estimates from past years have shown that few people get vaccinated against influenza after the end of November. Furthermore, Influenza vaccination can prevent hospitalization, protect pregnant women from during and after pregnancy says CDC.Moreover, vaccinations protect the people around you especially those who are most vulnerable to serious flu illness such as babies and young children says CDC.

“You can’t be overly cautious, but you have to be smart. A lot of people don’t recognize how serious the flu can be ” said Dr Trish Perl, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Newly published national estimates describe for the first time the burden of influenza in South Africa; nearly 10,000 deaths and 40,000 hospitalizations are due to influenza each year.

According to the CDC, even if you have not yet been vaccinated and have already gotten sick with the flu, you can still benefit from vaccination since the flu vaccine protects against multiple flu viruses. “Most common illnesses are spread by your hands,” said Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona who has spent a career tracking germ everywhere from toilet seats and aeroplane trays to computer touchscreens and hotel TV remote controls. He added that hand hygiene is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Lifeboy was part of 2019’s brands which supported Global Handwashing Day(GHD).The day focuses on millions of people all over the world recognizing the importance of handwashing with soap and raising awareness on its life-saving impact.

 

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