Steward Health Care Encourages Communities to Help Protect Against Seasonal Influenza by Getting a Flu Shot
During the continued COVID-19 pandemic, protecting yourself and your loved ones from the seasonal flu will be more important than ever. With the health and safety of our communities as our top priority, Steward Health Care is encouraging all residents who are eligible to receive a flu vaccination this fall.
“Given the uncertainty of COVID-19 this fall, we want to encourage our communities to take the flu season very seriously,” said Octavio Diaz, MD, Steward’s Chief Medical Officer. “By getting a flu shot, you not only help to protect yourself from the flu, but those around you as well.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older should get an influenza (flu) vaccine every season, with few exceptions.
Getting a flu shot is important because even healthy people can get the flu and despite being in good health, the flu can be a serious illness for them. And it’s especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious flu complications. Steward primary care physicians, as well as many women’s health providers, will be offering flu shots for patients. To schedule an appointment for a flu shot, please call your primary care physician’s office or schedule or request on appointment at: www.providers.steward.org
While flu shots are recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older, they are also a benefit to the following health populations:
- Adults ages 65 and older
- Expectant mothers
- Young children
- If you have asthma
- If you have heart disease or have had a stroke
- If you have diabetes
- If you have cancer
A flu vaccine can also help reduce your risk of having to go to the doctor by 40% to 60%, according to the CDC, and it also reduces the risk of hospitalization from the flu. The CDC recommends the following steps to fight the flu:
- Staying away from people who are sick
- Always wear a mask and maintain 6-feet social distancing
- Washing your hands often with soap and warm water. If soap and warm water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub
- Use medication the way your doctor recommends it
You can also help protect yourself and others by covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or your arm when you sneeze or cough; then dispose of the tissue in the trash; no touching your eyes, nose or mouth to help decrease the spread of germs, and, if you have flu-like symptoms, staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medicine).
Steward Health Care emergency departments, hospitals, and physician practice offices continue to use enhanced safety precautions, including the use of masks or face coverings for patients and visitors, frequent facility cleanings, and pre-screening before in-person ambulatory office visits and surgical procedures. Anyone visiting a Steward facility will also be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival to ensure the safety of everyone.
About Steward Health Care
Steward Health Care is the largest private, for-profit health care network in the United States. The company is owned and led by a management team of Steward physicians.
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Steward employs more than 40,000 health care professionals and operates 35 hospitals across the United States and in the country of Malta which regularly receive top awards for quality and safety. The Steward network includes multiple urgent care centers and skilled nursing facilities, substantial behavioral health services, more than 7,000 beds under management, and approximately 2.2 million full risk covered lives through the company's managed care and health insurance services.
The Steward Health Care Network includes more than 5,000 physicians across 800 communities who help to provide more than 12 million patient encounters annually. Steward Medical Group, the company's employed physician group, provides more than six million patient encounters per year. The Steward Hospital Group operates hospitals in Malta and nine states across the U.S., including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah. For more information, visit www.steward.org.