You may think that it is too early to start thinking about influenza, but UW Medicine wants to make sure that all of our patients, staff, and faculty are prepared well before the season starts. For UW Medicine staff and faculty, preventing influenza is critical. Not only do we not want our patients to get infected in the first place, they are also counting on all of us for their care–in other words, every faculty and staff person is essential to patient care.
There are bunch of things we can do to stop influenza. The first thing is to not get infected in the first place! Although not perfect, the influenza vaccine is the best method we have to protect everyone from not only contracting influenza but also from developing the most serious types of infection that land people in the hospital. The people who are at greatest risk from influenza, such those at the extremes of age and those living with immunodeficiencies, don’t get the beneficial effects of a vaccine, so they are counting on the rest of us to help protect them. When you get vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and everyone around you.
If you do come down with influenza or an influenza-like illness, it is important to prevent spreading it around. Everything we learned as children still works– frequent hand washing and covering our cough with our elbow are key! Please stay home if you’re ill and don’t return to work until you have had about 24 hours without a fever. This gives you time to get better and to stop spreading the virus. Influenza typically presents with a fever, sore muscles, and fatigue, but can look like other respiratory illnesses. People with more severe symptoms should contact their provider with any concerns or questions. There is treatment for influenza, but it is typically used only in certain patient situations. In fact, not everyone who thinks that they might have influenza even needs to be tested. Again, your provider is the best person to make that decision with you.
Get yours at one of the following locations:
Tuesday, October 3 – Seattle Campus, UW Tower, 4th Floor Cafeteria
Wednesday, October 4 – Seattle Campus, Husky Union Building (HUB), Room 250
Tuesday, October 10 – Seattle Campus, UW Tower, 4th Floor Cafeteria
Wednesday, October 11 – Tacoma Campus, William Philip Hall
Thursday, October 12 – Bothell Campus, UW1 Building
Monday, October 16 – Sandpoint, Building 29
Monday, October 16 – Seattle Campus, Plant Services
Tuesday, October 17 – Seattle Campus, Health Sciences Lobby
Wednesday, October 18 – South Lake Union
Thursday, October 19 – Seattle Campus, Foster School of Business
Tuesday, October 24 – Eastlake, UW Medicine
Tuesday, October 24 – Belltown, IHME
Thursday, November 2 – Seattle Campus, HUB Benefits Fair, Ballroom
Friday, November 17 – Seattle Campus, Health Science Lobby
View all clinic times and specific rooms/locations here.
Hospital employees are required to complete and document their flu shot compliance so be sure to request a receipt at the time of service. Follow directions provided by UW Medicine regarding immunization requirements and documentation.
The clinics are open to faculty, staff, dependents between ages 11-17, and retirees covered by a Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) health plan and for students covered under the Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP) or International Student Insurance Program (ISHIP).
Bring your health insurance card and photo ID to receive a flu shot at no cost to you, otherwise you will be required to pay $25 by cash or check and seek reimbursement from your health plan. Valid health insurance cards include those from a PEBB, GAIP, or ISHIP medical plan. Employees are also welcome to stop by the hospital Employee Health Clinics with questions or for vaccinations.
Thanks for doing your part to stop influenza!
Dr. John Lynch is an infectious disease doctor and is the medical director of employee health services, infection control, and antibiotic stewardship at Harborview Medical Center. When not stomping out influenza and other infectious diseases, he is bombing down mountains on his bike with his daughters.