Get Ready for an Unusual Flu Season
by Cheryl Roberts, R.N. Director of Ouray County Public Health Agency
Sep 10, 2009 | 1442 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OURAY – World health officials are concerned. The Center for Disease Control is spending millions of dollars, preparing. Public-health officials are writing and practicing response plans. Newspapers are reporting and forecasting it.

You are wondering, is it real or is it hype? The Bird flu is eerily reminiscent of the devastating “Spanish Flu” pandemic of 1918 in that most of its human fatalities are, surprisingly, adolescents and young adults. Both viruses seem to trick the healthiest immune systems into a response so strong it kills a percentage of people who come in contact with it.

So it is very real, can we do as much as possible to stay ahead of the threat. I’m expecting and planning to do just that.

I want to share with Ouray County residents the efforts which have taken place in preparing us for the 2009-2010 flu season. Education is the single most important thing we can do to lessen our chances of having devastation and high numbers of persons becoming ill with the Seasonal Influenza and the 2009 H1N1 Flu.

The Ouray County Public Health Department responded and formulated an emergency response on April 30, 2009, by establishing an emergency response working with the Ouray County Emergency Team, including Alan Staehle, Ouray County Emergency Manager; Jr. Mattivi, Ouray County Sheriff; Norm Rooker, Emergency Services Director and their respective staff members.

The team began to follow our Pandemic Flu Plan, which was written in 2008 with many community members for Ouray County.

The pandemic plan continues to be used and is proving to be effective. Ouray County Public Health Agency continues to educate, plan and implement strategic efforts, which should provide an effective decrease in numbers of people affected.

We are posting in local papers and other public places a vaccine schedule as recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), which we will be following to schedule our 2009 vaccination clinics. All persons except young adults ages 19-24 are recommended to obtain the Seasonal Influenza vaccine, our first public clinic will take place on October 7 at the 4-H Event Center in Ridgway between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Please call the Public Health Agency at 970/325-4670 to schedule a time for your immunization. We will be doing several other closed clinics such as the senior meal site and school staff clinics for specific persons in high risk positions. We will be scheduling 2009 H1N1 vaccinations as soon as we receive vaccinations from the State of Colorado Vaccination Program. Those clinics will be published as soon as we receive confirmation of vaccination availability.

Things that are taking place presently are campaigns in all three schools to educate students, staff and personnel in decreasing the virus from being spread.

* Cover each and every cough or sneeze, or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

* Wash hands often with soap and warm water or use the alcohol-based gel hand cleaners.

* Wash hands or use alcohol-based cleaners after touching publicly shared items such as doors, papers, money.

*Avoid touching your eye, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

*Avoid close contact with sick people. If you are pregnant and you live or have close contact with someone who has H1N1 flu, talk to your doctor about medicines to prevent flu.

* Have a plan to care for sick family members; don’t send sick students to school and adults to work. Use social distancing to contain illnesses.

* Stock up on household, health, and emergency supplies, such as water, Tylenol, non-perishable foods.

Remember the flu clinic dates and schedule with Ouray County Public Health Agency at 970/325-4670.

September 30, 1-5 p.m. for Children and Parents at the Ouray County Public Health Clinic.

October 7, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., a Seasonal Flu clinic at the Ridgway 4-H Event Center.
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