Don’t Let the Flu Get to You

American Red Cross Encourages Everyone to Get Vaccinated during National Influenza Vaccination Week

The H1N1 (swine) flu virus is still prevalent across the nation and the American Red Cross encourages everyone to get vaccinated against the virus, now that the vaccine is widely available.

National Influenza Vaccination Week, which is January 10-16, serves as an opportunity for people to learn how to prevent the spread of the flu and to encourage people and their loved ones to get vaccinated against both H1N1 and seasonal flu.  To find out where vaccinations are offered, visit flu.gov for a list of locations by Zip Code. 

Red Cross volunteers assisting at the December 2nd Brown County Health Department Clinic.

NEXT FLU CLINIC:

When: January, 12, 2010

Where: Brown County Health Department

Lambeau Field Atrium

1265 Lombardi Ave

Green Bay, WI 54304

Intake: Walk in to apply – open to general public

Hours: 3:00pm-6:00pm

Enter: Miller Lite Gate

Fee: No Charges – Parking is also available at no cost

“The H1N1 flu continues to be a health threat, so this is no time to be complacent,” said Sharon Stanley, chief nurse and director, Red Cross Disaster Health and Mental Health Services. “The supply for the vaccine is no longer an issue, and we don’t know whether another wave of H1N1 will occur. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is by being vaccinated.”

In the fall of 2009, the supply of H1N1 vaccine was limited, but now the vaccine is readily available. The vaccine was developed in the same manner as the seasonal flu vaccine, manufactured using the same standards and quality control measures and is considered safe.

Even though the number of people getting the flu is decreasing, the H1N1 virus is still a threat.  In the past, seasonal flu usually peaked in January or February and occurred as late as May. H1N1 first appeared in the spring of 2009, and reoccurred in the fall. Officials for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caution that they still don’t know what seasonal flu outbreaks will be like this year, and if there will be additional waves of H1N1.

Besides vaccination, there are also other simple steps to take to help prevent the spread of the flu:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve – cough into the elbow area, not hands.
  • Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. 
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home if sick. 

 The Red Cross has educational tools available to help households, schools and workplaces be well informed and promote healthy habits that help reduce the spread of the flu. Visit RedCross.org or contact your local chapter for more information.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Red Cross Offers Flu-Prevention Tips for Kids Going Back to School

As parents and teachers know, children have a way of picking up colds and other illnesses at school. As the number of swine flu (H1N1 Flu Outbreak) cases increases in the U.S., it becomes even more important to teach kids how to stay healthy.

Teach Good Health Habits
Proper and consistent hand washing is one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of flu. Teach kids by example by showing them proper hand washing technique:

  • Wet hands with water and apply an amount of soap recommended by the manufacturer to hands.
  • Rub hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds, covering all surfaces of the hands and giving added attention to fingernails and surfaces where jewelry is worn.
  • Rinse hands with water.
  • Dry thoroughly with a disposable towel.
  • Use towel to turn off faucet.

For younger children who may rush their hand washing, have them sing a short song such as “Row Row Row Your Boat,” or the “Happy Birthday”song, which will ensure they wash for at least 20 seconds. Placing hand-washing reminders at children’s eye level will also help them become consistent hand washers.

Teach kids to adopt these other healthy habits in order to prevent the spread of germs:

  • Avoid sharing objects such as utensils, cups, and bottles.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands afterwards. If tissue-less, cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper arm, not your hands.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth to keep germs from entering your body.

Parents should also prepare for the potential spread of swine flu by talking with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick. Also ask your child’s school or day care if there are plans to encourage sick children to stay home to reduce the spread of the disease.