Health & Wellness

Swine flu arrives in county

As in most of the rest of the country, the H1N1 flu, or swine flu, has arrived in Greene County, according to Don Brannon, epidemiologist of the Greene County Combined Health Department in an interview this week. While Brannon had no information regarding specific numbers in Yellow Springs because those numbers are not being recorded, about 10 people with the flu have been hospitalized in the county this month, he said. Individual cases of the flu are not being tracked because the H1N1 flu is no longer considered novel, he said, stating that virtually all reported cases of flu in the county this month have turned out to be H1N1.

“It’s here,” he said, although he also stated that the illness for most people is no worse than most flus.

“Most people who have the flu are getting over it readily,” he said.

Out of the 10 county hospitalizations, one person died from the flu, according to Brannon, who said that person, an adult, had a preexisting medical condition, and that the number of deaths is within the normal range of deaths from flu in other years. However, compared to the regular flu season, H1N1 has arrived earlier and the rate of transmission seems higher than other flus, Brannon said.

According to the Web site of Mills Lawn school this week, there are two confirmed cases of H1N1 among students, and one confirmed case among the staff of McKinney/Yellow Springs High School. About 40 Mills Lawn students were home sick on Monday, which is a larger than usual number for this time of year, according to a member of the school staff.

A clinic to vaccinate groups targeted as most vulnerable to the flu will take place Thursday, Oct. 29, from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, sponsored by the health department. The vaccine will be given to those aged six months to 24 years old, with those under 9 a priority; pregnant women; those aged 25 to 64 with preexisting medical conditions; and caregivers for infants and those with existing conditions. Many over 65 are believed to already have an immunity to H1N1.

To facilitate service at the Thursday clinic, persons in the targeted groups may visit www.gcchd.org, click on H1N1 information, download, print and complete a form for each person who will receive the vaccine, then bring the completed form to the clinic.

Persons not in the targeted groups who believe they have the flu should stay home from school and work to take care of themselves, and not return to work until 24 hours following the last symptom, Brannon said.

The vaccine will be available to the general population at a later time, and there are plans to provide the vaccine at a Yellow Springs site in November or December, Brannon said. He said the county did not receive the amount of vaccine it expected, but that it will receive weekly shipments of vaccines and should have enough to vaccinate the general population by the end of November.

Flu symptoms are sudden fatigue, a dry cough and a fever, Brannon said, although some have tested positive for the flu with little or no fever. To stay healthy, people should make sure they eat right, exercise, and get enough rest, Brannon said, along with washing hands for 30 seconds with warm soapy water before eating. Persons should keep their hands away from their mouth, eyes and nose as much as possible.

Updated information is available on the Greene County Combined Health District Web site at www.gcchd.org.

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