Because Women’s Care is concerned about your good health, we’ve joined forces with the Lane County Public Health Department as a community partner to help protect against the spread of the H1N1 virus (swine flu). While the number of cases in Oregon peaked in late October, some infectious disease experts predict that we may see a second surge of the H1N1 virus in February.
Women’s Care worked early on to acquire and maintain an adequate supply of H1N1 vaccinations. We’ve made these available for each of our patients who are considered to be highrisk for H1NI, specifically, obstetric patients and post-partum patients with infants 6 months of age and under. As of Dec. 17, we’ve administered 606 H1N1 immunizations to patients.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), pregnant women should be vaccinated because they’re at higher risk of complications and can potentially provide protection to infants who can’t be vaccinated. Parents of children younger than 6 months should also be immunized because younger infants are at higher risk of influenza-related complications and can’t be vaccinated. Vaccination of those in close contact with infants younger than 6 months old might help protect infants by “cocooning” them from the virus, says the CDC.
In addition to providing vaccinations, Women’s Care nursing staff and childbirth educators have been teaching patients about everyday prevention of flu and other illnesses. At right are tips they’d like you to know about protecting your health, and the health of those around you.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after use. Clean your hands after every cough or sneeze.
- If you don’t have a tissue handy, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hand.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. The CDC advises rubbing your hands together to make a lather and scrubbing all surfaces. Continue rubbing hands for 15 to 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice). Rinse your hands well under running water. Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
- When soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers. The gel doesn’t need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.
- Don’t share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels or other personal items.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you’re sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Stay away from others to prevent spreading the illness.
Be sure to contact your Women’s Care physician if you have questions or concerns about the H1N1 flu virus or the vaccination. We’re here to help keep you healthy!