As 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccinations arrive in limited quantity, it's more important than ever to implement everyday flu prevention actions. Even if you've already been vaccinated for seasonal influenza, you may still be susceptible to illness. The mass availability of H1N1 vaccine has been estimated to occur mid to late November 2009. Availability and distribution at Hill Air Force Base will be widely reported when shipments arrive. At present, H1N1 vaccinations will be provided through your county health department. Seasonal flu mist vaccine is still available from the 75th Medical Group for healthy beneficiaries under the age of 50 and over the age of 2.
School absentee rates around the state of Utah are much higher than expected for this time of year, pointing towards H1N1 as a probable cause. The message seems to be getting out to parents. "If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours until your fever breaks." As of Oct. 21 in the state of Utah, there have been 274 influenza-associated hospitalizations due to both seasonal and 2009 pandemic strains with at total of eight deaths related to H1N1 since the beginning of the influenza season.
Active duty members
What do you do if you suspect you have the flu?
If you suspect you are having symptoms of the flu (temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, sore throat):
1. Inform your supervisor and stay home. (Do not go to work and do not go to the clinic)
2. Call the clinic at 728-2600 if your symptoms get worse, afterhours proceed to the emergency room.
3. Keep in daily contact with your supervisor. It is also a first line supervisor's responsibility to remain in contact with their troops on quarters, know their status and ensure the safety of sick personnel assigned to them.
4. Return to work no sooner than 24 hours after your fever is resolved.
How is it being spread?
The main way that influenza viruses are spread is from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. Influenza viruses may also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else's mouth or nose) before washing their hands.
How can I protect myself now until I can get vaccinated?
The Centers for Disease Control recommends taking these everyday prevention actions to "Fight the Flu."
>> Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
>> Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
>> Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
>> Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
>> If you are sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
>> While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
>> Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other measures to keep your distance from others to lessen the spread of flu.