As JUCM News has reported, rates of influenza are increasing across the United States and across age groups at a very precarious time, with rates of COVID-19 also on the rise. The passage of another week brings more of the same, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as regional and national media, are reporting that the climb continues but also sharing insights as to what’s fueling it. One of key culprits is an easy fix, too, and something urgent care providers are in an ideal position to tackle: vaccinations are not where they should be at this point in the season, according to the CDC and multiple state health departments. Ask patients whether they’ve had their flu shot (and whether they’re fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, of course), and offer to get them up to date if they’re not already. The implications of this go beyond staving off the flu for any one individual. Incidence of SARS-CoV-2 is also increasing—more dramatically than the rise in flu cases, in fact—and incidence of other seasonal respiratory ailments is also climbing. Some municipalities and the state of California are going back to mask mandates in order to slow the spread and to prevent the need for social distancing measures and business shutdowns. These factors are all solid rationale when trying to convince patients who don’t see the need.
Follow-Up: Several Factors Are at the Root of Flu Uptick—and the Key Culprit Is Controllable