H1N1 virus still health concern

By PATSY GAINES Milam County Health Director
I have received many calls regarding the symptoms of H1N1 flu and, basically, the symptoms are like the regular flu symptoms which include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. H1N1 is still a health concern.

Many people have had diarrhea and vomiting. Nearly everyone with flu has at least two of these symptoms. But these symptoms can also be caused by many other conditions. That means that you and your doctor can’t know, just based on your symptoms, if you’ve got the H1N1 flu.

Testing by using the rapid flu test for H1N1 has decreased because of the cost and the accuracy of the test, therefore lab testing is being focused on people who are hospitalized with suspected f lu and people such as pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems, for whom a diagnosis of flu will help their doctor make decisions about their care.

The H1N1 flu is not the usual drift of the H1N1 virus. It has come to humans from a different line of evolution. That means very few people have any natural immunity to H1N1 flu. The normal seasonal flu shot offers most people no protection against this new virus.

Some people who have had seasonal H1N1 f lu before 1957 might have a little bit of protective immunity against the new virus. That’s because seasonal H1N1 flu strains that circulated before 1957 (and which were replaced by the 1957 pandemic flu bug) were genetically closer to the 2009 H1N1 flu.

This protection, if it truly exists, is not complete. While relatively few elderly people have had H1N1 flu, many of those who did get the disease became severely ill.

As of Dec. 19, the total amount of deaths in Texas has been 197. Of that amount, 35 of those were under the age of 18 years old. The largest group of patients who died from the H1N1 flu virus was the age group from 25-49 years of age and that total was 92. Only 10 patients died who were over the age of 65.

The total amount of hospitalizations for the state of Texas was 2021 and those who were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit were a total of 462.

A telephone interview survey of 6,000 households was conducted nationally during the week of Dec. 6-12 to provide vaccine coverage estimates for adults and children. The data was collected from 1,368 adults and 3,243 children.

The sur vey showed that an estimated 46 million people had been vaccinated – 28 million adults and 18 million children. During the interview, a question was posed whether people were planning to get the H1N1 vaccine and nearly half of the Americans surveyed stated that they have gotten, will definitely get, or will probably get the vaccine.

Also approximately 1 in 3 of these people had already been vaccinated.

So, if you are one of those that will want to receive the vaccine, please come by the Milam County Health Department in Cameron at 209 S. Houston St. on Monday and Wednesday and in Rockdale at 313 North Main St. on Tuesday and Thursday.

Protect yourself from the flu by getting the flu vaccine and begin a healthy year for 2010.

Milam County

Health Department • Local hours—Tues. & Thurs., 9 a.m.-noon & 1-4:30 p.m. • Phone—Rockdale office: 512-446-4026. Cameron office: 254-697-7039. • Web site: www.milamhealth. com.

Provides immunizations, TB tests, a well-child clinic, septic inspections, vision and hearing screenings, blood pressure checks, diabetes screening, STD tests, indigent health care applications, food handlers inspections.

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2010-01-14 digital edition

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