Each year, 5% to 20% of the U.S. population is infected with the influenza virus. The influenza season occurs annually between the months of October and May, with 3,000 to 49,000 influenza-related deaths each year. Since complications delay recuperation, those in high-risk groups need to be monitored carefully. High-risk groups are more vulnerable to severe illness and complications of the disease and include: people older than 65 years of age, children under 2 years of age, pregnant women, obese patients, and patients with other serious comorbid conditions. This article provides home healthcare clinicians with important information on influenza, how it is transmitted, influenza virus types and changes in the virus, signs and symptoms of complications, and measures to prevent the occurrence and transmission of influenza.
Deborah Hale, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, is an Instructor, Clinical Track, McAuley School of Nursing, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, Michigan.
The author declares no conflicts of interest.
Address for correspondence: Professor Deborah Hale, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, College of Health Professions, 4001 West McNichols, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI (firstname.lastname@example.org).