November 6, 2009
Larger Supplies of Vaccine Expected to be Available by Mid-November
As H1N1 Flu Activity Increases Oswego County Health Department Urges Residents to Stay Home When Sick, Follow Other Preventive Measures
Oswego - With cases of H1N1 flu increasing and not enough vaccine to meet current needs, the Oswego County Health Department is urging residents to stay home if they are sick and follow other preventive measures to limit the spread of the flu.
“Flu activity is currently widespread and increasing across New York State,” said Dennis Norfleet, MD, Oswego County Public Health Director, noting that almost all of the flu activity so far this fall is caused by the H1N1 flu virus, although seasonal flu is expected to begin circulating later in the flu season.
“While vaccine offers the greatest protection from the flu, there are currently not enough H1N1 flu vaccine supplies to meet the demand due to delays in production reported by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said Dr. Norfleet. “As we wait for vaccine to become more plentiful in the coming weeks, there are important measures Oswego County residents can take to reduce their chances of getting and spreading the flu.”
Dr. Norfleet urged all residents to take the following measures:
“You don't need to go to a hospital emergency department if your illness is mild,” said Norfleet. “Most people with the flu have mild to moderate symptoms and recover at home without medical treatment.”
However, Dr. Norfleet emphasized there are times when it is appropriate to seek medical treatment. Any individuals experiencing severe or worsening symptoms should immediately contact their health care providers or go to an urgent care facility or a hospital he said.
Signs that medical treatment may be needed for children include:
Signs that medical treatment may be needed for adults include:
Dr. Norfleet recommended that individuals at higher risk for serious illness and complications from the flu contact their health care provider at the first sign of the flu to see if it is appropriate for them to be prescribed an antiviral medicine, such as Tamiflu, which can reduce the severity of the flu.
Those at higher risk of serious illness and complications from the flu are:
Individuals who belong to one of these higher risk groups should also contact their health care provider if they are in close contact with someone with the flu; their health care provider may prescribe antiviral medicine to help prevent the flu.
The New York State Health Department is getting vaccine to health care providers in the State as quickly as the vaccine is made available by the CDC. But due to unanticipated production delays at the manufacturing level, large quantities of vaccine needed for widespread vaccination may not be available until mid-November or later.
“According to the CDC, vaccine is expected to be more widely available to persons in priority groups by mid-November and to the general public in December,” said Dr. Norfleet.
Priority groups to receive the H1N1 vaccine, as established by the CDC, are:
Dr. Norfleet said that an individual's regular health care provider may be the best option for getting vaccinated, and residents should check with their providers to see if they are expecting to receive vaccine. Individuals whose providers indicate they will not be vaccinating should check the Oswego County Health Department's Web site at www.oswegocounty.com for information about local vaccination clinics. Details will be provided if and when clinics are scheduled.
More information on the flu is available on the State Health Department's website at www.nyhealth.gov; and on the CDC website at www.flu.gov
Residents with questions about vaccine may also call the County's H1N1 hotline at 349-3572 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3572. For additional information contact the Health Department office at 349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547, or the State Health Department toll-free hotline at 1-800-808-1987.
Questions about the Oswego County Public Information Office?