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October 15, 2004

Important Update: Flu Vaccine Available at UHS Until 11/4

University Health Services (UHS) has revised its deadline for getting a flu vaccination at UHS, in order to free up vaccine sooner for other facilities that need vaccine for high risk individuals. If you are at high risk, as stated in the CDC guidelines, please call for an appointment at UHS to have your flu shot before November 4. (We had previously set November 15 as the deadline.)

CDC GUIDELINES:

Who should be vaccinated? The existing flu vaccine supplies should be given to protect people who are at greatest risk from serious complications from influenza disease.Everyone in this group should seek vaccination:
*People 65 years of age or older
*Children ages 6 months to 23 months
*Adults and children 2 years of age and older with chronic lung or heart disorders including heart disease and asthma
*Pregnant women
*Adults and children 2 years of age and older with chronic metabolic diseases (including diabetes), kidney diseases, blood disorders (such as sickle cell anemia), or weakened immune systems, including persons with HIV/AIDS
*Children and teenagers, 6 months to 18 years of age, who take aspirin daily
*Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities
*Household members and out-of-home caregivers of infants under the age of 6 months
(Children under the age of 6 months cannot be vaccinated.)
*Healthcare workers who provide direct, hands-on care to patients

Who should go without vaccination? Healthy people 2 to 64 years of age are asked to not get vaccinated this year at all or to wait to get their vaccine after persons in priority groups in their area have had a chance to be vaccinated, so that available vaccine can go to protect those at greater risk for flu complications.

What about the nasal vaccine, FluMist ? FluMist , the nasal-spray flu vaccine, is an option for healthy individuals, ages 5 to 49 years of age, who are in contact with infants under 6 months of age or who are healthcare workers who provide direct patient care. FluMist is not recommended for healthcare workers taking care of severely immunocompromised people when they are in a protective environment and cannot be given to pregnant women.

What else can you do to prevent the spread of flu? There are certain good health habits that can help prevent the spread of flu.*Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from other to protect them from getting sick too.
*Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze--and dispose of the tissue afterward.
*If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
*Wash your hands after you cough or sneeze with soap and warm water, or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
*If you get the flu, stay home from work or school. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

What if you are in a high risk group and your clinic has no vaccine?
Contact your local health department and ask your regular vaccine provider about other options for influenza vaccination. Health departments throughout the United States are trying to make sure that as many high-risk people as possible will eventually be able to go to either their regular vaccine provider or a flu shot clinic to get the vaccine. Some public vaccination clinics may also be posted at www.lungusa.org.

Information provided by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Posted by dwinds1 at October 15, 2004 12:00 AM