MADISON – The Wisconsin Association of School Nurses (WASN), representing more than 250 members statewide, today encouraged parents planning holiday break activities for their vacationing school- and college-age children to spend a few minutes getting them immunized against the flu.
“In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is often easy to forget that it only takes a quick trip to the family healthcare provider, pharmacy or local health department to protect your kids by getting them vaccinated against influenza,” said Louise Wilson, president of the Wisconsin Association of School Nurses and Health Services Supervisor in the Beaver Dam Unified School District. “Wisconsin families often travel for the holidays and can find themselves in contact with people from other communities or states that may have already been exposed to the flu. Being vaccinated beforehand helps provide the best method of protection. This also helps protect elderly family members, infants and those with auto-immune diseases, who are most susceptible to the illness, from contracting it from you.”
A typical flu season extends from October through April, according to Wilson, but the state health department has reported flu cases peaking as late as February and has already recorded flu cases statewide this year.
“Tight budgets have greatly reduced the number of vaccination clinics at schools statewide and while many parents have had their children’s’ immunizations updated prior to the school year, holiday breaks provide another window of opportunity to get whatever they might need, including booster shots for meningitis for those who are college-age,” said Wilson. “Many families may have also been waiting to reach their insurance deductibles or find themselves with existing flex dollars that must be spent, both which aid in easing these types of healthcare costs.”
Earlier this year, WASN reminded parents of federal funding changes that require those with private immunization insurance coverage to take their children to private healthcare providers for vaccinations rather than public health departments. WASN indicates those six months and older are encouraged to get a flu vaccination.
For more information on flu vaccinations visit www.flu.gov or go to http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines to see additional facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The mission of WASN is to support and advance the practice of professional school nurses in Wisconsin in order to enhance the health and educational success of students. For more information please visit http://wischoolnurses.org/ or on Facebook.