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ADPH: Seasonal flu, H1N1 still a concern

A number of Crenshaw County students got their H1N1 vaccinations through school-based clinics this week, and H1N1 was the key topic of a meeting held last Friday by Cyndi Tereszkiewicz of the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“In Alabama, H1N1 is still widespread,” Tereszkiewicz said. “We are still above normal, but the percentages are declining.”

One of Tereszkiewicz’s concerns is that we are now moving into the traditional flu season.

“January, February and March are when we usually see the seasonal flu,” she said. “Every year we lose about 500-700 people to seasonal flu, but we’ve only had 40 deaths in Alabama to H1N1.”

Tereszkiewicz also wanted to make everyone aware that flu shots are available, both in the H1N1 and seasonal flu varieties.

“Want a shot? You can get one if you just go to your local health department,” she said. “The H1N1 shots are free, but the seasonal shots are $5.”

Tereszkiewicz touched on plans companies should have in place in case there is a widespread outbreak of the flu.

These plans outline operating procedures with around half of the workforce missing because of illness.

“Until we have a disaster, people aren’t interested – we need to be prepared,” she said.

The ADPH also offers a list of 10 tips to reduce your flu risk, including getting vaccinated, washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home with fever, stockpiling supplies, cleaning and disinfecting, knowing your office emergency plan, learning home care, visiting the doctor if symptoms worsen and staying informed.

For more information, visit www.adph.org.