“Protecting our patients against dangerous influenza is important at Bayhealth,” explains Bayhealth Chief Nurse Executive Bonnie Perratto. That’s why Bayhealth is focusing efforts to encourage employees to receive this year’s flu vaccine in order to protect patients, co-workers and family members from often dangerous health care-related influenza. Perratto says, “It’s just one more way we are delivering on our mission to improve the health status of all members of the Bayhealth community.”
This year employees, physicians, students, contractors and volunteers are required to receive the flu vaccine by Friday, November 30, 2012, or be required to wear protective masks in designated patient care areas. Everyone who is vaccinated will be easily identified by a bright teal tag attached to ID badges. Anyone without the teal tag will be required to wear a surgical mask in designated patient care areas from November 30, 2012, until March 30, 2013. The surgical mask is being required out of concern for patient safety during flu season.
Bayhealth’s Occupational Health Medical Director Sajjad Savul, MD, says on average 10-20% of healthy adults will contract the flu each year. The flu is a contagious virus that can cause cough, fever, or feeling feverish, chills, headache, muscle/body aches, sore throat, extreme tiredness, runny or stuffy nose.
While Bayhealth has promoted employee flu vaccinations in the past, the protective mask requirement for employees who do not get vaccinated is new. An on-line educational course about the flu is also an annual requirement for employees.
“The flu is spread from person to person from coughing or sneezing and can lead to pneumonia. It is especially dangerous for people with chronic conditions like heart or lung disease,” explains Savul. Last year 200,000 patients were admitted to hospitals with the flu and 36,000 people died. “Bayhealth is taking additional steps and a more aggressive approach to protecting our patients against the flu.”