While everyone frets about getting the H1N1 flu, there’s nothing to sneeze about catching seasonal flu, says Robin Clark, the Phillips County Health Unit administrator.

 

While everyone frets about getting the H1N1 flu, there’s nothing to sneeze about catching seasonal flu, says Robin Clark, the Phillips County Health Unit administrator.
 “Every year 36,000 people die from seasonal flu,” Clark told Helena-West Helena Rotarians. Between 36 and 74 children were among the flu victims.
Clark said the health department will launch its seasonal flu vaccination of children Oct. 19 beginning at Beechcrest Elementary.
“We will go to every school in Phillips County,” Clark said.
The seasonal flu vaccine will be administered Oct. 29 at Second Baptist Church, Clark said.
“There will no charge for the vaccine at Second Baptist or to the children at the schools,” Clark said.
There is a $20 charge for flu vaccine administered at the Phillips County Health Unit.
 “People who have private insurance or Medicare will be covered,” she said.
As for the H1N1 flu vaccine, Clark said it’s her understanding it will be available “sometime in October.” There will be no charge for the H1N1 vaccine, she added.
Thus far five deaths attributed to the H1N1 virus have been confirmed in Arkansas, Clark said.
Clark pointed out that a person must receive both vaccines to be covered for seasonal and H1N1 flu.
“One vaccine won’t take care of the other,” she said.
Small children and pregnant women are most vulnerable to H1N1, Clark said.
“It runs rampant with children under five,” she said.
The conventional method for administering the H1N1 vaccine is with a mist or spray. That won’t work for persons with asthma, she said.
“They have to get a shot,” Clark said.
Clark said the best means of protecting one from contacting H1N1 is washing one’s hands with soap.
 “You have to use soap and water for at least 20 seconds,” Clark said. Other suggestions include: Don’t shake hands or come in contact with someone who is coughing or sneezing.
 Sneezers and coughers need to use a Kleenex or handkerchief to keep the germs from spreading, Clark said.