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Five Ways to Convince Patients they Need Flu Shots

Nurses Article   (27,171 Views | 55 Replies | 994 Words)

Lynda Lampert, RN has 4 years experience and specializes in telemetry, med-surg, post op, ICU.

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Nurses should never force patients to take any treatment, but sometimes we have to be a bit more persuasive in our approach to a particular procedure. One such treatment is the flu shot, and there are several myths and fears surrounding this vaccine. Helping your patient understand the importance of the flu shot can go a long way to making them healthier. You are reading page 3 of Five Ways to Convince Patients they Need Flu Shots. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

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Some random thoughts . . . .

Earlier this year there was a flu outbreak on a Navy ship, USS Ardent, even though it was 100% vaccinated crew on board. The outbreak was sufficient to disable the ship for several days, fortunately it was in safe waters at the time.

The NVAC, National Vaccine Advisory Board that advise the CDC is made up primarily of representatives of the major pharmaceutical companies that market the flu shot. There are no nurses on this board.

Healthcare staff forced to get the shot are still expected to sign a "consent". Most I know delete the word 'consent' and write "coercion".

There is absolutely no evidence that the shot is effective. In Europe its mostly the over 75s that have it, and there are no problems there.

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Those that wish to put viral DNA's into them, by all means let them do it! There are enough idiots on this planet that will blindly trust “statistics” and go ahead anyway.

Just curious -- are you old enough to remember polio? If not, have you read about it? Do you think that there should have been no polio vaccines?

I'm not a health professional, but as a child I wanted to be a nurse, so I remember photos of the "iron lung" and kids using crutches and braces to walk. I remember the sheer terror of my mother -- of course she tried to conceal it, but everyone was so frightened. You couldn't miss the moms discussing polio in hushed tones.

As an adult, I have read the history and I know there have been serious problems associated with polio vaccine at times. I had just gotten vaccinated when the Cutter Incident was announced (didn't affect me).

Nonetheless, even with problems and a few very bad outcomes, I think we are better off now than we were before polio was eradicated in most of the world.

I always raise this issue with anti-vax people and have never gotten much of a response.

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dudette10 has 9 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg, Academics.

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This year's flu shot strains were not the "right" ones for the flu that is currently circulating (flu A H3N2, mutated from vaccine strain). We all know how the flu shot strains are decided and that it is a best guess. Yes, it will make educating our patients a little more difficult in coming flu seasons, but we also know that the flu is a killer for many patients with health problems, and it can knock a healthy person out for weeks.

For or those who are vehemently against the flu shot, what are your reasons. Any medical claims need to be backed up with statistics. It would also help me to know if you've taken care of people with the flu in your workplace. (This time of year, we have a LOT of patients with the flu, with SOB, activity intolerance, general malaise, and, in some cases, sepsis.) I'm still trying to understand why healthcare workers are against it.

Edited by dudette10
wrong strain...HA!

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trinitymaster has 16 years experience and specializes in Long Term Acute Care, TCU.

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The argument is simple:

The polio vaccine developed in 1952 by Jonas Salk (who also helped to develop the flu vaccine) has virtually eradicated polio.

The flu vaccine, developed in 1938, has done nothing to eradicate influenza. If it worked, then everyone would get the shot.

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trinitymaster has 16 years experience and specializes in Long Term Acute Care, TCU.

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Let me clarify: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan still have polio outbreaks.

The USA does not.

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67 Posts; 4,054 Profile Views

The argument is simple:

The polio vaccine developed in 1952 by Jonas Salk (who also helped to develop the flu vaccine) has virtually eradicated polio.

The flu vaccine, developed in 1938, has done nothing to eradicate influenza. If it worked, then everyone would get the shot.

Wait, what? So vaccines are useless if they don't totally (or largely) eliminate the disease globally?

My definition of flu vaccine "working" is this: it reduces the likelihood of my being infected by the strains of flu the vaccine covers.

As I understand it, the flu virus mutates so it is impossible to predict precisely what strains I might encounter. So when I get the vaccine, I am improving the odds of my having a healthy winter. I am not getting (or expecting) a guarantee.

Isn't "improving the odds" what a lot of health measures do?

Edited by Semolina

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Where i work, the highest rate of sickness leave is due to reactions to the flu shot. Staffing is decimated right now and quite a few have been hospitalized due to severe reactions.

I never saw this when working in Europe. I have no problem with proven vaccines, for polio, hep, etc, but this seems to me to be a pointless exercise.

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Lynda for what it is worth. I enjoyed your article and your post. You are a very smart women. There is nothing wrong with educating patients about both the risks and benefits of any vaccine. The flu vaccine does more good than harm. It is a shame others do not see that.

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trinitymaster has 16 years experience and specializes in Long Term Acute Care, TCU.

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"Current evidence supporting the effectiveness of influenza vaccine in preventing hospitalizations in older adults is insufficient": Effectiveness of seasonal vaccine in preventing confirmed influenza... - PubMed - NCBI

90% of deaths are in people greater than 65 years of age: Seasonal Flu Vaccine

"Influenza vaccines can provide moderate protection against virologically confirmed influenza, but such protection is greatly reduced or absent in some seasons. Evidence for protection in adults aged 65 years or older is lacking. LAIVs consistently show highest efficacy in young children (aged 6 months to 7 years). New vaccines with improved clinical efficacy and effectiveness are needed to further reduce influenza-related morbidity and mortality":Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines: a systematic revi... - PubMed - NCBI

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The problem with this stance is that you are putting your patients at risk. You can carry and pass on the flu virus for days without having symptoms yet.

if you are exposed to the flu virus, with or without the vaccine, you can spread it.

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Unfortunately, statistics and studies are all we have. Are we supposed to disbelieve that saturated fats lead to heart attacks because those conducting the studies stood to gain by the sale of low fat foods and heart surgery?

No.

I have yet to see a study or statistic sited that proves all of these horrible things about the flu shot. That is reprehensible for a site that will influence whether a nurse educates a patient correctly about something that could be helpful.

You don't like the CDC? Cool. Cite studies that back up your opinions from another source. Europe has all the answers? What answers do they have? Your being vague to make your point and not citing specifics.

If you don't trust the CDC, that's fine, but many people do. Not telling your patients the facts from an objective point of view is dangerous. Many lives HAVE been saved by this vaccine. Do I think they go overboard? Yeah. I don't agree with the CDC guidelines.

However, I'm not going to let my opinion of spurious "facts" influence what I tell a patient. They have the right to make that decision themselves, and until you can point to studies enumerating the so called evils of flu shots, your point is essentially weakened.

the latest study says that carbs and not saturated fats are the bad guy.... and so it goes.

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kodc has 10 years experience.

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the latest study says that carbs and not saturated fats are the bad guy.... and so it goes.

Just to side track more and add another monkey wrench, neither are really a problem unless your body is in an inflamed state. So it's not so much either. Rather it's eating a pro-inflammatory diet.

KO

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