H1N1 has arrived

   H1N1 flu has arrived.
   According to County Health Nurse Cynthia Grubb, Pondera County Health Department (PCHD) there has been an increase in the amount of influenza like illnesses being seen by local providers and several cases now have been confirmed at the state public health lab.
   Influenza like illness levels are monitored through cooperative efforts of the Pondera Medical Center and the PCHD.  
   “Signs and symptoms of the flu include sudden onset of high fevers, upper respiratory symptoms, sore throat and body aches,” says Grubb.
   Treatment is mostly supportive care which means control of fever with Tylenol or Motrin (not aspirin for children), fluids, and rest.
   “However if you have a condition, like asthma, that puts you at high risk for complications from the flu, contact your health care provider,” she says.
   The Health Department is reminding the community primarily to stay home if you have a fever, unless you are seeking medical care and remain home until you are fever free for 24 hours without medication. If you have a child with a fever, they should remain out of daycare and school till they are fever free for twenty-four hours as well.  
   Also the Health Department is receiving limited weekly shipments of H1N1 vaccine. This is being received in two forms. One form is the H1N1 nasal mist. Parameters for this vaccine are basically ages 2-49 with no underlying medical conditions so this vaccine, which is preservative free, is suitable for healthy children and adults.
   The other form is the H1N1 shot. This shot is appropriate for individuals six months and older with underlying medical conditions but is being received currently in a more limited supply.  
   As per state recommendations the vaccine is being given first to health care workers and pregnant women. Vaccination of these groups is ongoing, so though supply is currently very limited, vaccine is increasingly available for other risk groups especially children.  
   If you are interested in receiving H1N1 vaccination, contact the Health Department at 271-3247and your name will be placed on a list.
   They will notify you as soon as vaccine becomes available.