Buena Vista County Public Health, local clinics, hospital, day cares, preschools, schools, colleges and emergency management have been meeting regularly for the last month to stay abreast of the abundance of information supplied by government and state entities this flu season. Patty Quinlisk, MD, Medical Director and State Epidemiologist has recommended that Health Care Providers begin vaccinating for seasonal flu as soon as vaccine becomes available. Buena Vista County Public Health and Home Care has had one community clinic this week and has scheduled clinics at schools, businesses and other locations in communities in Buena Vista County. Protection from the seasonal flu vaccine is thought to persist for about one year.
These same community partners have also been discussing strategies for addressing Novel Influenza A(H1N1) activity in Buena Vista County. Novel Influenza A activity is increasing throughout the state and health care providers are reporting an increase in patients seen with influenza-like illness. It is anticipated that H1N1 vaccine should arrive mid to late October. This group of community partners has discussed strategies to distribute the vaccine once it arrives.
Buena Vista County Public Health and Home Care encourages the citizens to practice these healthy habits now:
· Clean your hands often. Wash with soap and water for 15-20 seconds. Clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner if soap and water is not available.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as much as possible. Germs spread this way.
· Stay away from sick people AND stay home if you are sick.
· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing OR cough or sneeze into the upper sleeve, not into your hands.
· Get regular exercise, enough rest and eat healthy balanced meals.
For more information, call Buena Vista County Public Health and Home Care at 712-749-2548, M-F from 8 AM to 4:30 PM.