FMCNA offers annual flu vaccine to patients and clinical staff

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Beginning in mid-October, Fresenius Medical Care North America will offer all of its patients and clinical staff an annual flu vaccine, which protects against both seasonal flu and H1N1 this year. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cautions that it is likely that H1N1 will continue to spread along with seasonal viruses this flu season.

“We want to help keep our patients and staff healthy during flu season”

Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the nation's leading network of dialysis facilities, follows recommendations by the CDC, which advises chronic kidney disease patients, and particularly older adults, to be vaccinated against the flu. It is especially important for dialysis patients to be vaccinated as they are at increased risk of becoming ill with the flu because of their kidney failure. The most serious side effect of the flu is pneumonia, and flu complications can lead to death. That is why FMCNA is encouraging all patients and staff to get the annual flu vaccine.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive, usually permanent, loss of kidney function that can take place over a period of months or years. When CKD progresses to kidney failure, or end stage renal disease (ESRD), the only treatments are a kidney transplant or dialysis, a life-sustaining treatment typically required every two to three days.

"We want to help keep our patients and staff healthy during flu season," says Carolyn Latham, VP of Clinical Quality and UltraCare® at Fresenius Medical Care. "That's why we offer flu vaccinations every year, and we encourage all of our patients to take a minute to get the vaccine and help protect themselves against the flu and potentially serious complications."

Some symptoms of the flu include:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Fever

If patients are exhibiting signs of the flu, they should take steps to prevent the spread of illness. The CDC recommends that anyone with flu symptoms stay home unless they need medical treatment. However, dialysis patients typically need treatment every two to three days, so they should inform their caregivers before entering the treatment area. Even if patients feel like they may be coming down with the flu, their caregiver can provide them with a mask that will protect other patients and staff, while allowing patients to receive their dialysis treatment.

FMCNA's flu vaccination initiative demonstrates the company's UltraCare® mission of delivering excellent, patient-centered care through innovative programs, the latest technology, continuous quality improvement and a focus on superior customer service.

Dialysis is a life-sustaining process that cleans waste products from the blood, removes extra fluids, and controls the body's chemistry when a person's kidneys fail. Dialysis patients require treatment on an ongoing basis unless they receive a kidney transplant.

Patients should check with their local clinic to find out the specific vaccination schedule near them. Flu vaccinations are covered by most health insurers. For more information, go to www.ultracare-dialysis.com.

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