For Immediate Release
Mike Heideman, 785-296-4363
Like some other pandemic flu viruses before it, the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus is having a significant impact on younger people, especially those in the 19-24 age range. January 10-16 is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is reminding residents that getting vaccinated is the best defense against H1N1.
“It’s easy to understand how young adults might not think they are at any great risk from a flu virus, since this is not normally the case,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, Kansas State Health Officer and Director of the Division of Health at KDHE. “However, the best evidence we have shows that people ages 19-24 are at greater risk, and should make it a point to get vaccinated.”
The Kansas Immunization Program (KIP) at KDHE has facilitated the shipment of more than 868,000 doses of vaccine since October 1 to public health departments, health care providers and retail pharmacies across the state. 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.
People who become sick with flu should stay home until at least 24 hours after fever or signs of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. To reduce the risk of spreading flu viruses everyone should wash hands with soap and warm water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer; avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth; cough or sneeze into a tissue or cover coughs and sneezes with the elbow; and stay healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and getting adequate rest and exercise.
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.