Norwood Health Commissioner on H1N1, seasonal flu prep
We have a “first” today, too. Pam has graciously agreed to answer any questions our readers have about the flu season directly in the comments box! This is the first time in our 3 years a guest blogger has agreed to do this, and we hope it won’t be the last. Pam will reply as she has can, not in “real time.” With her plate overflowing right now, we don’t want to take away from the serious work she’s doing to protect us from flu outbreaks and other public health threats.
Dear CBN Readers:
On September 1, 2009, I will have completed my third month as Health Commissioner for the Norwood Health Department and what an exciting three months it has been! Overwhelmingly, the majority of my time is being spent on H1N1 related activities. You likely will recall that H1N1, formerly know as “Swine Flu”, is the influenza virus that emerged in the United States this past spring.
Public Health agencies, including the Norwood Health Department, continue to closely monitor the H1N1 flu situation. Currently, a vaccine for H1N1 flu is in the clinical trial stage of development and we are hopeful that we will have this vaccine available by mid-October. We continue to plan and prepare for H1N1 vaccine dispensing clinics by meeting regularly with other health departments in southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky, and southeast Indiana. Additionally, we continue to work with many other officials including those from schools, Fire/EMS, Law Enforcement, as well as your government officials.
Even though there is no H1N1 vaccine available, there are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of diseases that cause respiratory illness, like H1N1 flu:
· Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not near by, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If a tissue is not available, use the inside of your elbow to cover your cough or sneeze, not your hands.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
· Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Try to stay 6 feet away from people who are coughing or sneezing.
· If you are sick, you should stay home until symptom-free for at least 24 hours.
We also encourage you to get your vaccination for SEASONAL flu to help prevent illness. Although we currently do not have the H1N1 flu vaccine, the Norwood Health Department has received SEASONAL flu vaccine. We have several SEASONAL flu shot clinics scheduled. Please check our website at www.norwoodhealth.org for dates and times. Then call us at 513-458-4600 to schedule your appointment.
I have greatly appreciated the warm welcome I have received by Norwood residents and I look forward to continue to serve your community. Don’t forget to COVER YOUR COUGH!!!
Pamela Walker-Bauer, MPH, RS
Norwood City Health Department