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Wake health officials stress prevention in fighting flu

Posted October 20, 2009

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— Wash your hands often, and stay at home if you're not feeling well.

Public health officials in Wake County stressed prevention at a news conference Tuesday, saying these simple acts, as well as getting vaccinated, are the best ways to avoid getting the seasonal or H1N1 flu. 

Flu Hospitals seeing more patients with flu-like symptoms

Although they didn't provide specific numbers, officials said there has been an upward trend in the number of confirmed cases of H1N1 over the past six weeks. Local hospitals are seeing a daily average of 65 children and 33 adults with flu-like symptoms. About three to five people are admitted each day. 

The seasonal flu shot is widely available, and the H1N1 vaccine is available in limited quantities to people who fall in a high-risk group, as classified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

It could be the end of November before the vaccine is open to anyone. 

In the meantime, health officials recommend the following tips: 

  • Wash your hands often in warm water for 20 seconds. If you can't wash them, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Turn off the faucet with a towel.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes in a tissue or with your arm to keep germs from spreading through the air or landing on surfaces.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. These are easy points of entry into the body for germs.
  • If sick, stay at home. It helps speed recovery and keeps germs from spreading further.

On Monday, the county exhausted its latest supply of H1N1 vaccine in a matter of hours as thousands of people turned out for shots. Many were turned away and told to return when a new stock arrives.

Since the vaccine has been released, Wake County has received about 6,500 doses in both nasal and injectable forms.

The CDC says those at highest risk of contracting H1N1 flu are pregnant women, individuals ages 6 months to 24 years, people 25 to 64 with underlying health issues, health care and emergency workers and anyone caring for children younger than 6 months old.

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  • Tired of thoughtlessness Oct 21, 2009

    sixnitepkg-
    While I understand you have your opinion, everyone's immune system is not built to fight off the flu. Some have already compromised immune systems. Thus, they have to get the vaccine.

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Oct 21, 2009

    I am still waiting on the pediatrician to get in the regular vaccine, let alone this swine flu vaccine. I am pregnant and also have a 2 year old, so I at least need HIM to get the regular flu vaccine, but that is still not available either.

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Oct 21, 2009

    I work with people who don't even wash their hands when coming out of the bathroom, let alone washing them after (if they do) coughing or sneezing into them. I also work with a grown man who complains that I spray Lysol in my cube because someone came in hacking and I didnt want to get sick. He actually told me I needed to stay home if I didnt want to get sick. Like really?

  • sixnitepkg Oct 21, 2009

    scientistjoe -

    any competent MD or RN could tell you that the protection the body builds fighting off a virus itself is better than getting a "dead virus" vaccine, and one just did. I don't have the space here to explain the entire immune system, but the fact remains, actually catching the flu and fighting it off is better. The difference lies in the fact that it's a dead virus vs. a live one, and the immune system is better prepared the next time around to fight it off by fighting off a live virus.
    There are entire textbooks taken up explaining antigens and antibodies and how they work.

  • time4real Oct 21, 2009

    to Wake Health Officials,
    let us stress to you, if you can't provide us the shot we can only do so much on our parts. Your incompetence will cause many to die and millions more to be very sick!

  • baracus Oct 21, 2009

    desantiscomm, you do realize that it isn't the government making the vaccine? All the delays and such are the result of inadequate private production capacity and the nature of vaccine production, i.e. it doesn't happen overnight. Regular flu vaccine production started a good month or two before the swine flu was even on the radar. I think you are the first person I have heard complain that the swine flu vaccine was rushed out too slowly.

  • desantiscomm Oct 20, 2009

    So, we knew the swine flu was coming, and now we discover, as was predicted by the conservatives among us, that the federal, state and local response would be a day late and a dollar short. The first wave of available vaccine quickly came and went, and now delays in the next batch are predicted to arrive in mid-November, well into the regular flu cycle let alone the swine flu escalation. One more prime example of why I do not want the federal government, Obama, or anyone associated with his cabinet and administration, regulating my health care. Grandiose ideas in scale, woefully short in execution.

  • scientistjo Oct 20, 2009

    "Natural immunity is ALWAYS better than artificial!" -sixnitepkg

    That statement keeps getting stated on golo and it makes no sense. The vaccine is an injection of dead virus that activates your immune system to produce antibodies against the virus (same thing that happens 'naturally'). Also, if you step on a nail are you going to allow your body to fight off tetanus naturally? I didn't think so.

  • patriotsrevenge Oct 20, 2009

    sixnitepkg, your logic is as good as your math 99.98% is the sama as 1 in 10,000, NOT 2 in a million. I don't know what you mean by "artificial" immunity, because there is no such thing, you're either immune or you're not. One way, you get sick as a dog and risk death, the other you just get a shot. Your risk of Guillian-Barre's syndrome is next to nothing. I don't understand why grown people are so afraid of a little vaccine.

  • sixnitepkg Oct 20, 2009

    best way to become immune to the great dreaded swine flu??? GET IT!! GET OVER IT!! since for 99.98% of people (thats like 2 people in a million!!) you'll feel bad for a week, then get better why not get natural immunity! Natural immunity is ALWAYS better than artificial! Oh, and your risk is about the same of acquiring Guillian-Barre's syndrome from the shot itself!

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