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Flu Season Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

The flu season is almost upon us. While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round in the US, they are most active during the fall and winter. Flu activity often begins to increase in October, peaking between December and February.

This year is different, though. This year we are in the middle of a deadly coronavirus pandemic. While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s likely that seasonal flu viruses and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will both be spreading. The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, with similar symptoms. It may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone.

According to the CDC, getting the flu vaccination is even more important this year, not only to reduce the risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce healthcare resources. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH)  and the CDC recommend that all people 6 months and older get a yearly flu shot.

DHCP Rights and Responsibilities

There are no federal or state requirements that compel dental healthcare personnel (DHCP) to accept the influenza vaccine. However, some California local health jurisdictions have mandated that DHCP working in facilities in their jurisdictions receive the flu vaccine, unless they have a medical contraindication. Refer to your local public health department for specific information on local flu vaccine mandates.

Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.

 

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