H1N1 Flu Update
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The Lourdes Health System's Infection Control Department and Emergency Preparedness team continue to monitor the global outbreak of Influenza A – H1N1. We are working diligently to maintain a safe environment for staff and patients.
Although news stories regarding H1N1 aren't as frequent as they were earlier this year, on June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert to Phase 6 signaling that a global pandemic of novel influenza A )H1N1) was underway. This was a reflection of the spread of the virus, not the severity of illness caused by the virus.
The CDC reports that an H1N1 vaccine is expected for delivery in October 2009. Initial reports are that individuals under the age of 50 will require two (2) doses, a minimum of 28 days apart. This is in addition to the normal seasonal flu shot that should be available starting in mid-September. Please check the CDC Web site for details (links below).
Throughout the summer months, the Lourdes Health System has been gearing up in anticipation for the traditional flu season this fall and winter as well as a resurgence of the novel H1N1 strain. We've been in close communication with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services which recently held a five-day "NJ Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Summit 2009." In addition, Lourdes Health System hospitals were among 13 in the southern part of the state to participate in a four-day Pandemic Flu exercise. The exercise tested the health system's pandemic flu plan and its ability to adapt and react to changing circumstances, reduced supplies and a surge in cases.
We also continue to communicate with local, county and state Health Departments.
Again, the most important way to protect yourself and your family and prevent the further spread of H1N1 is to:
- Always use good hand hygiene;
- Stay home when sick;
- Avoid contact with people with influenza-like illness (ILI);
- Cover mouth and nose with tissue when cough or sneeze;
- Dispose of used tissue in the waste basket after use;
- After coughing or sneezing or blowing your nose ALWAYS wash hands immediately;
- Regularly clean door knobs, handles, telephone receivers, surface areas etc., especially if someone in you household is sick.
Below are links to useful information from state and national resources:
Main H1N1 (Swine Flu) Web Link: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/
H1N1 Flu and You (English): http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm
Swine Influenza and You (Spanish): http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/espanol/influenza_porcina_usted.htmH1N1 Flu Clinical and Public Health Guidance: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/
Antiviral Drugs and H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu): http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/antiviral.htm
Novel H1N1 Flu Situation Update: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/update.htm
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services H1N1 site: http://www.state.nj.us/health/er/h1n1/