Protecting Residents, Families & Staff During Flu Season

by Dr. Diane Kane, M.D.

The flu season has started early this year with many confirmed cases in Monroe County. While it’s not possible to completely prevent someone from catching the flu, we take proactive measures to protect Maplewood residents, visitors and staff.

Assistant Director of Nursing, JeanAnn Kubishin, oversees our flu vaccination program. “All staff receives the flu vaccine and we provide staff with free in-house flu vaccine clinics,” says JeanAnn. “I am happy to report that we have reached our goal of 100% of our staff being vaccinated.”

“We have also provided all of our residents, whose health status allows it, with the high-dose vaccine this year,” adds JeanAnn. “And, we require that all volunteers who visit during flu season are vaccinated. The more people vaccinated at Maplewood, the better protected our residents will be. This is called Herd Immunity.”

The flu (influenza) is a highly contagious respiratory virus that spreads by coughing or touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth) with contaminated hands. We educate all staff annually about preventative measures – hand hygiene, using gloves and masks, and cleaning procedures. And, our housekeeping staff keeps the facility exceptionally clean in a manner that limits the spread of infection.

Families and friends have an important role in prevention too. The CDC and APIC say the best way to help prevent the spread is the take these simple steps: get the vaccine, cover your cough (cough into your elbow or a tissue), clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer, stay home if you are sick (flu symptoms:  fever, chills, cough, body aches etc.). We know you will be missed if you can’t visit for a few days, but if you’re ill, please avoid visits until you are symptom-free. Even a minor cold can be very dangerous for our residents.

We are hoping for a happy and flu-free holiday season.

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