Published On: Mon, Oct 19th, 2009
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H1N1 Flu Vaccine arrives

Submitted by
Cherokee Indian Hospital

      The 2009 H1N1 Flu vaccine has arrived and is being administered to priority groups according to CDC recommendations.  There are two forms of the vaccine, and both forms are now available in limited supplies. 
      Hospital officials related they  do expect more vaccine to arrive in the coming weeks.   Cherokee Indian Hospital and the Health and Medical Division are working together to make sure that the highest priority individuals receive the vaccine first.
      Priority groups include: pregnant women, people who live with or provide care for infants younger than 6 months (e.g., parents, siblings, and day care providers),  health care and emergency medical services personnel, people 6 months through 24 years of age, and people 25 years through 64 years of age who have certain medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications.  There are two kinds of 2009 H1N1 vaccines being produced:  A 2009 H1N1 “flu shot” — an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm.   The indications for who can get the 2009 H1N1 flu shot are the same as for seasonal flu shots. The flu shot is approved for use in people 6 months of age and older, including healthy people, people with chronic medical conditions and pregnant women.   The same manufacturers who produce seasonal flu shots are producing 2009 H1N1 flu shots for use in the United States this season. The 2009 H1N1 flu shot is being made in the same way that the seasonal flu shot is made.   The 2009 H1N1 nasal spray flu vaccine — a vaccine made with live, weakened viruses that do not cause the flu. The indications for who can get the 2009 H1N1 nasal spray vaccine are the same as for seasonal nasal spray vaccine. Nasal Spray is approved for use in healthy* people 2 years to 49 years of age who are not pregnant.
      The nasal spray vaccine for use in the United States is being made by MedImmune, the same company that makes the seasonal nasal spray vaccine called “FluMist®.” The 2009 H1N1 nasal spray vaccine is being made in the same way as the seasonal nasal spray vaccine.    About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against 2009 H1N1 influenza virus infection will develop in the body.   The 2009 H1N1 vaccine will not protect against seasonal influenza viruses, but the seasonal flu vaccine is still available, and administered at the same time as the 2009 H1N1 vaccine.  
      The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination and frequent hand washing.  
      Hand washing is a simple thing and it’s the best way to prevent infection and illness.  Clean hands prevent infections. Keeping hands clean prevents illness at home, at school, and at work. Hand hygiene practices are key prevention tools in healthcare settings, in daycare facilities, in schools and public institutions, and for the safety of our food.  At home, hand washing can prevent infection and illness from spreading from family member to family member and, sometimes, throughout a community. In the home, the basic rule is to wash hands before preparing food and after handling uncooked meat and poultry, before eating, after changing diapers, after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose into a tissue, and after using the bathroom.  
      When washing hands with soap and water: wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap, use warm water if it is available, rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
 Continue rubbing hands for 15-20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice through to a friend.  •Rinse hands well under running water. Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.  Always use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. If soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub to clean your hands. Alcohol-based hand rubs significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast-acting.
      When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:  Apply product to the palm of one hand.  Rub hands together. Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.

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