Station InitiativesWellness Wednesday

Actions

Preparing for flu season with vaccine

Posted at 5:30 PM, Oct 18, 2023

Mekenna Bermingham is pediatric nurse practitioner at Intermountain Southridge Pediatric Clinic at Intermountain Riverton Hospital. She loves what she does. But why did she decide to become a pediatric nurse practitioner?

“I always get that question. But I always felt like I should be opposite. Why would you work with adults when you can work with kids?” said Bermingham.

Of course, parents hear that question and think about taking their kids in for vaccinations.

“Luckily, stickers and suckers help. So, we do have some bribery. But we have some good techniques that help with calming them and stuff to parents can talk to them about a visit beforehand,” said Bermingham.

It really is important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last year was severe for the flu in part because few children got an early vaccine, and 57 percent of children hospitalized for flu were admitted by the end of November. Which brings up an important distinction about who vaccines can be effective.

“The goal is to protect our vulnerable populations by having everyone vaccinated. And of course, those that are healthy individuals, it will reduce the severity of your illness to but for those individuals that would reduce the risks that they have of ending up in the hospital and having severe illness,” said Bermingham.

The flu is not specific to children, so vaccinating children protects grandparents and vice versa.

“I think the goal though, would always be prevention. And so, during the flu season, I really try to encourage the family to do really good hand hygiene, washing, wipe down counters, things like that, and use disinfectants,” said Bermingham.

And recent history has made us more attuned to a final piece for advice.

“So, stay, don't go to school, if you're sick. Stay home from work if you're sick and allow your body to heal and you do not be sick anymore and spread the virus,” said Bermingham.

Flu shots are widely available at your doctor’s office and pharmacies. Be sure to call ahead if you prefer the nasal spray instead of an injection.

 For information on influenza or flu shots, visit intermountainhealthcare.org/vaccines.