Continue to encourage your patients to get vaccinated! The flu vaccine is 36% effective this season and has been most effective for young children, according to interim estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released [February 15th]. “These early VE (vaccine effectiveness) estimates underscore the need for ongoing influenza prevention and treatment measures,” CDC experts said. For adults, a new study suggests that the risk of heart attack is six times greater than normal while people are ill with the flu. Further, only about one-third of pregnant women are getting flu shots. A startling 64 percent of pregnant women had not been vaccinated against the flu, despite recommendations from the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
But, please note that the rapid flu test requires a swab deep in the nasal cavity for a proper sample, but the results, which are back in around five minutes, can produce false negatives -- meaning a patient with the flu may not know it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the quick tests are only 50 to 70 percent accurate.