Fall is approaching which means that the 2020-2021 flu season is also. Experts recommend the flu shot now more than ever as the coronavirus pandemic could mix with flu season. This overlap could cause major issues and overwhelm hospitals. It is critical to get vaccinated, as preventing the flu saves lives and preserves healthcare resources.
Why you should get vaccinated
Influenza affects people differently. While some people only develop mild symptoms, others develop serious illnesses such as bacterial pneumonia, ear, and sinus infections. The flu can worsen chronic medical conditions like heart failure, asthma, and diabetes. This contagious disease affects the lungs which can lead to hospitalization and sometimes death. People that are infected with influenza can spread the disease for up to 5-7 days. Getting vaccinated not only protects you but the people around you.
Key facts about the flu shot
The flu shot is recommended every year for anyone 6 months and older.
September and October are the best months to get the flu shot.
Antibodies develop in the body around two weeks after the vaccination.
Common side effects of the shot include low grade headache, soreness at injection site, muscle aches, nausea, and fatigue. Keep in mind that these potential side effects are nothing compared to the pain of contacting the flu.
The influenza virus spreads via droplets when people cough or sneeze which is why it is so important to wash your hands regularly.
The most common flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches, and fatigue. Although these symptoms are similar to the common cold, the flu is more severe, develops quicker, and leads to severe complications.
Vaccine effectiveness varies from year to year. Characteristics of the person being vaccinated such as age and health affect its effectiveness.
There is a high-dose shot called Fluzone High-Dose, or FLAUD, available for people 65 and older. FLUAD has four times the antigen than a regular dose has. It works by pairing a regular vaccine with an immune stimulant increasing the response to a vaccine.
Why the flu vaccination is especially important this year
COVID-19 has caused health care facilities to be full. If people do not get a flu shot and contract the flu, they will have to seek treatment which may increase their exposure and risk of contracting the coronavirus. Furthermore, oxygen and ventilators are resources used to keep both COVID-19 and flu patients alive. If there is a big influx of flu patients this year, there is a possibility of people having to compete for resources. Protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated!
Do you have any questions regarding the flu vaccine?
Tria Health provides one-on-one confidential counseling with a pharmacist for any of your medication related questions. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your questions.
COVID-19 has resulted in many of us working remotely. Unfortunately, working from home can lead to a lack of motivation and productivity. Spending a lot of time at a desk can result in eye strain, body aches, and fatigue. Taking the time to optimize your desk setup can reduce stress and aid in eliminating these issues. You can improve your physical health while working from home by following these simple steps.
Check your chair height. In whatever chair you own, your knees should be at a 90-degree angle with your thighs parallel to the ground. If you are not sure how exactly to adjust your seat to get the right height, there is a trick. You should stand in front of your chair and have the edge of the seat touch the bottom of your kneecaps. This will ensure an accurate height.
Adjust your desk height. After adjusting your chair height, it is important to make sure your desk matches it. Tall desks can result in neck and shoulder issues. Your elbows need to be resting by your ribs at a 90-degree angle. To make sure you are in the correct position it is recommended to install a keyboard tray or an adjustable footrest.
Watch your distance from the computer monitor. The distance between your eyes and monitor has an indirect effect on your vision. Depending on the distance, you may crane your head or squint your eyes. This is going to cause strain. Everyone has different monitor sizes, space limitations, and eyesight. However, keeping your monitor an arm’s length away is suggested.
Make sure to utilize proper lighting. Artificial lighting is not great long-term. It is good to try and sit your desk by a window in your office. Natural light plays a large role in mental health. If your computer is surrounded by lots of light, make sure that your screen brightness matches it. This will prevent eye strain.
Get rid of clutter. There are cognitive benefits to a clear workspace. If your workspace is messy, it takes more mental energy to process the mess. This is only going to distract you from other important tasks. Easy things like keeping a trash can or a paper shredder near your desk will make a huge difference and increase productivity.
Get a standing desk. A standing desk is a perfect for getting ergonomic benefits. Having said that, it can be hard on your feet, back, and neck if not used correctly. Standing all day is just as bad as sitting all day. Instead of standing all day, switch positions in intervals. This will slowly get your body comfortable with a standing desk.
Tria is Here to Help
Working from home is challenging and a huge adjustment. It can also be difficult on your mental health. If you are dealing with mental health related issues, Tria can help. Many patients decide to take medications to effectively manage their mental health. If Tria Health is offered through your benefits plan, you have the option of receiving a one-on-one, private consultation with one of Tria Health’s pharmacists over the phone. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. If you are interested in exploring medication treatments for mental health, Tria’s pharmacist will be able to provide you with recommendations.
As restrictions ease up across the country it’s important to still take precautions and safety measures to stay healthy while trying to live a full life. Below are five suggestions to reduce the risk of spreading and infection.
Track your area’s health status. You want to know the percentage of positive tests in your community or state. When the rate stays at 5 percent or lower for two weeks, there’s most likely enough testing taking place to control the spread of the virus.
Limit close contacts. The safest interactions are with members of your household, but if you want to widen your circle, the key is consistency. Consider forming a “quarantine pod,” in which two or three households agree on safety precautions and socialize only with one another.
Manage your exposure. Think of your activities like items on a budget: You’ll have to make trade-offs, balancing higher-risk events and interactions, like a dinner party or a haircut, with lower-risk ones, like grocery shopping.
Keep riskier activities short. When making plans, think about how much open space there will be, the number of other people and the amount of time you’re likely to spend. Try to keep indoor events to under an hour, and always wear a mask during close conversations.
Don’t let your guard down. The advice we’ve heard time and again still applies: Practice social distancing, wash your hands often, and be extra cautious if you or someone in your circle is at higher risk.1
World Health Organization: How to protect yourself
Below is a short video clip that explains how COVID-19 is spread and how to protect yourself.
How can Tria help?
Tria Health provides chronic condition management, many of our patients are at a higher risk for serious illness with COVID-19, our pharmacists have been actively educating engaged patients on risk factors and the importance of prevention techniques. For members that have not engaged with Tria Health, but are at high risk, Tria Health is providing additional communication and outreach to stress the importance of good health management and how our pharmacists can be a valuable resource. And, as always, our help desk is available to all members. We are committed to assisting members with any questions they may have about their medications, risk factors or ways they can mitigate their risk. 888.799.8742
As employees are returning to the office there are many adjustments needed to ensure a safe, sanitary and healthy work environment. Check out the following recommendations by the federal government to help keep your office safe and COVID-19 free:
Develop and implement appropriate workplace safety policies regarding:
Social distancing and protective equipment
Testing, isolating, and contact tracing
Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
Business travel *Employers are encouraged to follow federal, state, and local regulations and guidance in developing these policies, informed as necessary by industry best practices.
Monitor workforce for indicative symptoms. Employers are encouraged not to let symptomatic people physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider.
Develop and implement policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing following a positive COVID-19 test in the workplace. Employers should continue to ask infected employees to identify all individuals who worked in close proximity (within six feet) for a prolonged period of time (10 minutes or more to 30 minutes or more depending upon particular circumstances, such as how close the employees worked and whether they shared tools or other items) with them during the 48-hour period before the onset of symptoms. Employers should send home all employees who worked closely with the infected employee to ensure the infection does not spread.1
How to Social Distance in the Office
Before employees return to the office it’s important to implement social distancing guidelines to ensure the workspace is safe and comfortable. By altering the office to adhere to social distancing guidelines you will decrease the chances of transmission to employees and customers. Below are new procedures your business can practice:
Implement flexible worksites (e.g., telework).
Implement flexible work hours (e.g., rotate or stagger shifts to limit the number of employees in the workplace at the same time).
Increase physical space between employees at the worksite by modifying the workspace.
Increase physical space between employees and customers (e.g., drive-through service, physical barriers such as partitions).
Use signs, tape marks, or other visual cues such as decals or colored tape on the floor, placed 6 feet apart, to indicate where to stand when physical barriers are not possible.
Implement flexible meeting and travel options (e.g., postpone non-essential meetings or events in accordance with state and local regulations and guidance).
Close or limit access to common areas where employees are likely to congregate and interact.
Deliver services remotely (e.g., phone, video, or web).
Adjust your business practices to reduce close contact with customers — for example, by providing drive-through service, click-and-collect online shopping, shop-by-phone, curbside pickup, and delivery options, where feasible.
Move the electronic payment terminal/credit card reader farther away from the cashier, if possible, to increase the distance between the customer and the cashier.
Shift primary stocking activities to off-peak or after hours, when possible, to reduce contact with customers.
*If you have more than one business location, consider giving local managers the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plans based on their local conditions.2
As always, the continuous practice of disinfecting, handwashing and sanitizing is very important to keeping the office a healthy and comfortable place for employers and employees. Getting back to the office can seem daunting but team encouragement will ensure the office and place you call home can stay virus free.
Tria Health is providing additional communication and outreach to stress the importance of good health management and inform members that Tria’s pharmacists are a valuable and convenient resource during this current health crisis. Tria Health is committed to assisting members with any questions they may have about their medications, risk factors or ways they can mitigate their risk. 1.888.799.8742
Managing chronic conditions has always been critical in regards to improving employee health and reducing healthcare costs. With the emergence of the COVID-19 health crisis, it’s more important than ever as patients with chronic conditions have a higher risk of complications with COVID-19. With a multitude of telehealth resources available, discover how pharmacists can make a significant impact on patients with chronic conditions.
Speakers: Jessica Lea, CEO, Pharm.D., EMBA, BCPP Jason Grace, Director of Clinical Services, Pharm.D. Austin Morgan, Pharm.D. Date: April 23, 2020 Time: 11:00AM – 12:00PM CDT