2015-2016 Flu Information
The 2015-2016 Influenza Season is rapidly approaching and now is the time to prepare. The Indian Health Service nationally, including the Portland Area, have developed Influenza Plans for the 2015-2016 influenza season in an ambitious campaign to help clinics and patients to prevent influenza infections, hospitalizations and deaths. Clinics are encouraged to continue to “pull out all the stops” in vaccinating patients by starting earlier and maintaining the maximum effort to vaccinate throughout the next three months. We hope to achieve high enough flu vaccine coverage among our patients and healthcare personnel that this year’s flu epidemic can be reduced dramatically compared to previous years. To do this, we will not only have to start vaccinating earlier and for longer than usual, we will also need to work with communities to engage parents and elders to increase the acceptance and demand for influenza vaccine. This page contains links to many resources that we hope you will find helpful, whether you are a clinic or school administrator, a parent or elder, a public health or community leader.
Influenza occurs every year. Each year, the strains of flu that circulate are different. Flu vaccines are made new each year based on which strains are most likely to occur but they always include influenza A and influenza B strains. Last year, the flu vaccine did not match one of the most common strains that occurred, influenza A (H3N2). Many people heard about this in the news and decided not to get a flu shot last year. But later, in the early spring, there was an increase in influenza B cases. Many of these cases could have been prevented if people had gotten their flu shot. No one is able to completely predict the future, but your best bet is to get your flu vaccine and get it early. Our goal is to get at least 50% of all patients vaccinated before the flu season arrives. Don’t wait!
Contact your clinic or healthcare provider today and get vaccinated. Protect the Circle of Life. Get your flu shot today!
For Clinical Providers:
- Flu vaccine is especially important for those at high risk for developing severe disease or flu-related complications (see list below).
- ACIP recommendations for influenza vaccine for the 2015-2016 influenza season have recently been published. You can find these at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6430a3.htm?s_cid=mm6430a3_w
- One key recommendation, consistent with IHS influenza plans for the 2015-2016 influenza season, is that vaccination should start as early as possible. Although protection against influenza declines after six months, especially in elderly individuals, it is more important to not risk missing the opportunity to vaccinate as soon as vaccine supplies are available.
- Summary of Influenza Antiviral Treatment Recommendations
- Clinical trials and observational data show that early antiviral treatment can shorten the duration of fever and illness symptoms, and may reduce the risk of complications from influenza (e.g., otitis media in young children, pneumonia, and respiratory failure).
- Early treatment of hospitalized patients can reduce death.
- In hospitalized children, early antiviral treatment has been shown to shorten the duration of hospitalization.
- Clinical benefit is greatest when antiviral treatment is administered early, especially within 48 hours of influenza illness onset.
- Antiviral treatment is recommended as early as possible for any patient with confirmed or suspected influenza who: is hospitalized; has severe, complicated, or progressive illness; or is at higher risk for influenza complications.
- Persons at higher risk for influenza complications recommended for antiviral treatment include:
- children aged younger than 2 years;*
- adults aged 65 years and older;
- persons with chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension alone), renal, hepatic, hematological (including sickle cell disease), and metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus), or neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions (including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle, such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy [seizure disorders], stroke, intellectual disability [mental retardation], moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury);
- persons with immunosuppression, including that caused by medications or by HIV infection;
- women who are pregnant or postpartum (within 2 weeks after delivery);
- persons aged younger than 19 years who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy;
- American Indians/Alaska Natives;
- persons who are morbidly obese (i.e., body mass index is equal to or greater than 40); and
- residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities
- Clinical judgment, on the basis of the patient’s disease severity and progression, age, underlying medical conditions, likelihood of influenza, and time since onset of symptoms, is important when making antiviral treatment decisions for high-risk outpatients. When indicated, antiviral treatment should be started as soon as possible after illness onset, ideally within 48 hours of symptom onset. However, antiviral treatment might have some benefits in patients with severe, complicated or progressive illness, and in hospitalized patients when started after 48 hours of illness onset.
For Public Health and Community Leaders:
Print and Media Resources:
Fighting the flu video
IHS National Influenza Plan, 2015-2016
Portland Area Influenza Plan, 2015-2016
Brochure: 2015-16 Flu Shots (Microsoft Publisher version)
Brochure: 2015-16 Flu Shots (PDF version)
Sample News Article
IHS Flu page: http://www.ihs.gov/flu/