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Kristina Duda, R.N.

NIVW: Health Care Providers and First Responders

By December 7, 2012

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We have spent a lot of time this week talking about groups of people that are at high risk for the flu. Whether it's children, pregnant women, older adults or people with chronic health conditions, millions of people in the US  fall into one of these categories. In most cases, flu vaccination is recommended to prevent the flu if you fall into one of these categories.

Today, we are going to talk about why health care workers, first responders, child care providers and caregivers should be vaccinated. If you fall into one of these categories, or if you live with or spent a lot of time with someone that is included in a high risk category, you should be vaccinated to protect not only yourself but also the people you are exposed to.

Health care workers and first responders spend a lot of time around sick people. When you have contact with multiple people a day who are sick, the chances of you catching and spreading some of those germs is high. Although we take many precautions like washing our hands, wearing gloves and sanitizing equipment, germs get spread anyway and people get sick. Getting your flu vaccine will reduce the chance that you will get sick and pass the illness on to your patients or coworkers.

The same goes for people who aren't health care workers but still spend time around people who are at high risk. Child care providers and caregivers (including parents, grandparents and babysitters) spend countless hours with people who fall into high risk categories. Even if you aren't concerned about recovering from the flu yourself, consider the effect it may have on the child or adult that you take care of.

The flu is not something to be taken lightly. The more people that get vaccinated, the better protected we will all be.

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