Although it may seem like COVID-19 is the only respiratory disease crisis on medical professionals’ radar, influenza and pneumonia season is around the corner, and doctors worry that it may be more severe than people expect.
What Made the Last Flu Season Different
Flu activity was substantially lower than usual in the 2020-2021 flu season. Doctors and other medical personnel pointed to the use of personal protective equipment, these, in addition to the implementation of masking and social distancing practices, likely prevented the spread of the flu in ways that were not achievable in past years.
However, flu and pneumonia may come back with a nasty vengeance in the 2021-2022 season, With individuals letting their guards down after long standing COVID-19 precautions and lockdowns, and lack of exposure to the flu potentially resulting in weakened immune systems, medical personnel are preparing for a another chaotic fall and winter.
Types of Influenza and Pneumonia
There are two main types of influenza: Influenza A and Influenza B. Influenza B is much slower to develop than A, and it tends to impact children and younger adults more severely than it does elderly populations. In 2020, roughly 70% of early flu cases were caused by Influenza B and 30% were caused by Influenza A.
Pneumonia, on the other hand, which is among the deadliest diseases for older Americans, inflames the lungs’ alveoli (air sacs), resulting in the buildup of fluid or pus and causing symptoms such as cough, fever, chills and difficulty breathing. Bacterial pneumonia, which is the most common form, has symptoms that can develop gradually, while viral pneumonia involves symptoms like those of the flu, including fever, dry cough, headache, muscle pain and weakness.
Having The Right Tools
Since both the flu and pneumonia are respiratory in nature, they often result in symptoms of mucus and fluid requiring suction equipment in worst-case scenarios. SSCOR’s portable emergency suction devices are vital for mitigating complications associated with pneumonia and the flu, and they will certainly play an essential role in how medical personnel treat patients in emergency situations.
Both versions of the SSCOR VX-2 portable suction unit, which are equipped with battery maintenance systems, enable medical professionals to clear and protect patients’ airways, rescue choking and aspirating patients, and help responders tend to patients without moving them. This equipment is also lightweight enough for use during bedside treatments.
Additionally, the SALAD (Suction Assisted Laryngoscopy and Airway Decontamination) technique, which is specially developed to prepare the airway ahead of intubation, can be implemented more easily with the SSCOR DuCanto Catheter.
Treating flu and pneumonia patients requires proper patient assessment using reliable and efficient tools. In anticipation of prevalent flu and pneumonia activity, emergency medical personnel should become familiar with role of portable suction devices in maintaining airway patency and preparing patients for intubation.
For more information on these devices and how they will benefit your organization, download our free guide, The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Portable Emergency Suction Device, which will serve as an important resource as you work to combat the harsh flu and pneumonia season that lies ahead.
Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in September 2021. It has been re-published with additional up-to-date content.