News Room

H1N1 vaccine available to high risk patients

Thursday, November 5, 2009

H1N1 vaccine available to select Fort HealthCare patients

 

FORT ATKINSON –Fort HealthCare has begun to receive additional doses of the H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine and continues to make it available to persons in the designated target group, per recommendations of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). 

 

Because of the limited supply available nationally, the DHS is recommending that local health departments and health professionals target H1N1 vaccine for those individuals most-at-risk.   They are, in no particular order:

• Pregnant women

• Persons who live with or provide care for infants age 6 months or younger (examples: parents, siblings, daycare providers)

• Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel who have direct contact with patients or infectious material

 • Children age 6 months - 4 years

 • Children and adolescents age 5-18 years who have chronic medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications

 

Fort HealthCare clinical and physician staff have been monitoring availability of the vaccine since the H1N1 flu pandemic became evident.  The limited supply of vaccine available is being distributed to individual primary care clinics throughout the service area, including those operated by Fort Medical Group, UW Health and Dean/St. Mary’s Regional Clinics. At this

time, most Fort HealthCare affiliated primary care clinics are contacting individuals and families in the target group to receive the vaccination as they are considered most at risk for becoming seriously ill after contracting the virus.

 

Established patients of Fort HealthCare’s Fort Medical Group, UW Health and Dean/St. Mary’s Regional Clinics should expect that vaccinations will become more available as 10 million doses are to be distributed nationally to healthcare providers within the next week. 

 

If you or a family member fall into the target group and have not been contacted by your primary care provider, you are encouraged to call your clinic to determine current availability of the vaccine as well as your appropriateness for receiving the vaccine. Persons without a regular primary care physician should contact the Jefferson County Health Department at (920) 674-7275 or go online at www.co.jefferson.wi.us for more information.  The County Health Department also has a limited supply of the vaccine available to those members of the public in the above mentioned at-risk groups.

 

Influenza viruses are thought to spread from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. The droplets from the infected person are propelled through the air and deposited on the mouth or nose of people nearby. Influenza viruses may also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else’s mouth or nose) before washing their hands.

The CDC recommends that people with influenza-like illness remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100° F [37.8°C]) without the use of fever-reducing medications.

 

People with 2009 H1N1 flu cared for at home should:

  • Check with their health care provider about any special care they might need if they are pregnant or have a health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or emphysema
  • Check with their health care provider about whether they should take antiviral medications

  • Keep away from others as much as possible. This is to keep from making others sick. Do not go to work or school while ill and do not visit the doctor’s office or emergency department unless complications have become evident
  • Stay home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone, except to seek medical care or for other necessities. (Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink clear fluids (such as water, broth, sports drinks, electrolyte beverages for infants) to keep from being dehydrated
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Wash hands often with soap and water.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wear a facemask – if available and tolerable – when sharing common spaces with other household members to help prevent spreading the virus to others. This is especially important if other household members are at high risk for complications from influenza. 

 

Be watchful for emergency warning signs that might indicate you need to seek medical attention.   These include:

  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Vomiting and unable to keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination, or in infants, a lack of tears when they cry
  • Seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions)
  • Less responsive than normal or confusion

 

Persons interested in following developments regarding the H1N1 flu outbreak and the availability of the vaccine are encouraged to visit www.FortHealthCare.com/flu.  Frequent updates will be posted to this website.  The website also has links to sites created by the State of Wisconsin and the CDC, among others.  This includes www.pandemic.wisconsin.gov and www.flu.gov

Community vaccination clinics will resume as H1N1 vaccine becomes more readily available. People may call 2-1-1 to find out an H1N1 or seasonal influenza vaccine clinic nearest them. A "clinic finder" is also available online at http://pandemic.wisconsin.gov or http://www.wisconsinfluclinic.info/ .

 

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