According to Friday’s Weekly Influenza Surveillance report from CDC, Alabama, Alaska, California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas were all experiencing widespread flu activity in the week ending in Nov. 23.
Influenza and pertussis – or whooping cough – are serious infections that can be fatal for babies, especially for those who are too young to be vaccinated directly.
Resistance to vaccines is not new. Starting with the first vaccine developed in the late 1700s/early 1800s for smallpox through current times, people have resisted vaccines. “What we are looking at today is not new,” said Paul A. Offit, MD, director of the Vaccine Education Center and attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “It is historic, but the good news is that I think there is a path forward.”
A new approach is needed. To impact behaviours and reinforce trust in vaccines, it is not enough to fight against (and thereby risk legitimizing) the anti-vaccine movement. Instead, we need to start a new pro-vaccine movement, taking inspiration from what we see in the fight against climate change.
As diseases have made a comeback, many local legislatures are looking to close loopholes to encourage vaccination.
Influenza, a contagious respiratory illness, does not discriminate about who, when, and where it strikes. It is crucial for nurses and other healthcare professionals to understand the flu’s etiology, symptoms, prevention, and treatment in the interest of their own health, as well as the well-being of their patients and communities.
Worried about getting sick this flu season? Dr. Nicholas Testa is in the California Live studio to answer all your questions and make sure you have your flu facts straight.