ST. CHARLES, IL – With the flu season starting much earlier than usual, doctors’ offices, urgent care centers and emergency rooms are feeling the heat. And unfortunately, it is just getting started.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu has officially reached epidemic status. The CDC says that this season’s vaccine does not provide protection for H3N2, the strain of the influenza that’s currently making the rounds.
In early December, the CDC issued a health advisory stating that only 48 percent of flu virus samples taken through last month were closely related to this year’s vaccine. “Because the H3N2 is dominating, we will probably see more disease,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
What does this mean for the meeting industry this season?
Count on large numbers of attendees needing medical attention this winter, frequent trips to the emergency room, and plenty of empty seats.
What can planners do to ease the pain?
- Pre-event communication to attendees instructing them NOT to come to the meeting if ill with a fever
- Hand sanitizer stationed throughout the meeting area(s)
- Contingency plan to handle large number of ill attendees
Keep in mind that just directing ill attendees to the local emergency room or urgent care will pose its own challenges. These facilities will be overcrowded with sick patients. Waiting rooms will be standing room only, with wait times in excess of six to eight hours for non-life threatening conditions.
InHouse Physicians’ on-site medical support for meetings offers a turnkey, “medical safety net” for planners this flu season. Our on-site physicians can handle anything from a sore throat to a heart attack in a convenient and prompt manner, 24 hours a day.
Contact Darrin Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-822-0280 to learn more about how InHouse Physicians can support your meeting.