For Immediate Release
Mike Heideman, 785-296-4363
January 10-16 is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is reminding residents, especially younger and middle-aged adults with certain chronic health conditions, that getting vaccinated is the best defense against the H1N1 flu.
“It is urgent for people between the ages of 25 and 64 who have asthma, diabetes or certain other conditions to understand that their risk for severe complications is high, and to protect themselves by getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, Kansas State Health Officer and Director of the Division of Health at KDHE. “This applies even in cases where a person’s condition is well-controlled.”
“Plenty of vaccine to prevent the pandemic H1N1 flu virus is now available,” stated Roderick L. Bremby, Secretary of KDHE. “Anyone who has a chronic condition placing them at greater risk for severe flu complications should visit with their health care provider about getting vaccinated.”
The chronic medical conditions that confer a higher risk for H1N1-related complications include:
Between October 1 and January 11, the Kansas Immunization Program (KIP) at KDHE facilitated the shipment of more than 866,000 doses of vaccine to public health departments, health care providers and retail pharmacies across the state. More vaccine is being shipped each week. Up-to-date information on H1N1 vaccination clinics being held in Kansas can be found by going to www.kdheks.gov and clicking on “Where can I receive the H1N1vaccine?”
The symptoms of infection with the pandemic H1N1 virus are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever of 100 degrees or greater, body aches, coughing, sore throat, respiratory congestion, and in some cases, diarrhea and vomiting.
KDHE has established a phone number for concerned Kansans to call with questions about the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus. The toll-free number is 1-877-427-7317. Operators will be available to answer questions from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Persons calling will be directed to press “1” on their touch-tone phone to be directed to an operator who can answer questions. Kansans can also email H1N1fluinfo@kdheks.gov, or visit www.kdheks.gov.