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Flu Season Off To Busy Start

Flu Foulds MohallIt’s been a busy flu season thus far for Pharmacy Manager Angel Daniels and her team at store #3947 in Lexington, Ky.

Flu season officially started Oct. 4, according to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), yet by that date Daniels had administered approximately 750 regular seasonal flu shots, compared the 1,100 shots she administered all of last year.

“To this point, this has been the busiest flu season I’ve experienced,” says Daniels, an immunizing pharmacist. “More patients are coming in to get flu shots and patients are asking more questions.”

Daniels says her patients seem to be more aware of preventing the spread of flu. “I’ve seen patients with the flu come into the store wearing masks to keep them from getting others sick,” she says.

She adds that some customers have been reluctant to use pens at the pharmacy counter, but that her staff has been proactive in making sure to consistently disinfect them.

In a flu season that has been complicated by the emergence of H1N1 flu, Daniels isn’t the only Rite Aid pharmacist seeing an increase in patients with flu-related needs. By mid-October, Rite Aid’s 2,000 immunizing pharmacists had already administered 8.5 times more regular seasonal flu shots this year than last.

As for the H1N1, some Rite Aid stores had received the vaccine by mid-October, but many had not because its distribution is determined by state and local departments of health.

Senior Vice President of Pharmacy Operations Dan Miller says the circumstances surrounding the flu season “remain dynamic and change from week to week. We are encouraging our associates to stay current by reviewing the communications we send from corporate headquarters. And we encourage our associates to read the latest news regarding the flu from reputable sources such as www.flu.gov or the CDC.”

Flu Prevention Tips

  • Get vaccinated against the regular seasonal flu
  • If you are in a high-risk group, get vaccinated against H1N1 flu when the vaccine is available
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise, rest and relaxation
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand cleaner
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Clean and/or disinfect surfaces and items that are frequently touched
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and immediately throw away the tissue
  • Do not use co-workers’ phones, desks, offices or other work tools
  • Stay home if you are diagnosed with influenza until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications
  • If you are diagnosed with the flu, limit contact with others to keep from infecting them