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H1N1 Flu and Seasonal Flu Information
Many of us have heard or read a great deal about the 2009 H1N1 virus (or swine flu), and we get inquiries each day. While much of the news can be startling, it is very important to keep in mind that most people recover without ever requiring medical treatment. IRMC administration, physicians, and staff have been working diligently to ensure the safety the communities we serve. We are also in close contact with the CDC, the PA Department of Health, local agencies and schools. The following information is part of our ongoing effort to meet the needs of our patients.
Who’s at risk?
The CDC has identified the following groups as priority groups for receiving the vaccination:
- Pregnant Women
- People six months to 24 years old
- Healthcare providers and EMS personnel
- Parents, household members or caregivers of children under six months
- Those under 65 with certain underlying medical conditions
At this time, current studies indicate the risk for infection, with 2009 H1N1 Influenza, among persons aged greater than or equal to 65 years is less than the risk for persons in younger age groups, therefore, they are not considered as a priority group for vaccination. However as vaccine supply and demand for vaccine among younger age groups is being met, programs and providers should be able to offer vaccination to people over the age of 65.
Will I get vaccinated?
This season, there is a seasonal flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu viruses and a 2009 H1N1 vaccine to protect against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus (sometimes called “swine flu”). A flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu infection. IRMC is working with the county agencies and the PA Department of Health to secure vaccines for the “high risk” groups initially and the rest of the general population after that.< /p>
What can I do?
There are also everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like the flu.
Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Then wash your hands or use an alcohol- based hand rub.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.
When should I seek medical attention?
Again, it is important to remember that most people recover without the need for medical treatment, but you should contact your doctor if any of the symptoms below exist:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms return along with fever and worse cough
For more information concerning H1N1, we recommend www.cdc.org or www.H1N1inPA.com. Please check back to our site and we will do our best to update the public with information concerning vaccines and their availability.