With H1N1 flu cases showing a small decrease nationally and locally in recent weeks, officials at the Health Sciences campus urge the public to continue taking precautions against the spread of flu-like illnesses – including forgoing holiday gatherings with family and friends if you’re ill.
“If you’re sick, with a high fever, send a nice note to the family, but don’t go and infect everyone else,” said Paul Holtom, associate professor of medicine and orthopaedics.
If H1N1 cases do continue on a downward trend, seasonal flu – which typically peaks in January or February – will likely be on its heels.
Holtom urged that people get the seasonal flu vaccine and continue to take other precautions, including covering their cough, washing their hands frequently and staying home when sick.
“We can’t guess if the slight downturn is the beginning of a trend or a blip,” Holtom said. “We’re in uncharted territory. We don’t know what the future will bring.”
H1N1 vaccine continues to be produced slowly, but Holtom said more doses are becoming available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aims to vaccinate people in priority groups first until more vaccine becomes available.
Priority groups include pregnant women, health care workers, people ages 6 to 24, caregivers of those ages six months or younger and people ages 25-65 with chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.
Pneumococcal vaccine is also recommended for those in high-risk groups, those who have underlying disease or those who have never had the pneumococcal vaccine before, Holtom said.??
For more information on H1N1 flu and seasonal flu, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov
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