Flu vaccines available for high-risk population
Sitting on an examination table in a doctor’s office, mammography technologist Michie Russ gets a shot of Flu Mist up her nose from nurse practitioner Suzan Williams.”When I first started working here [I got sick], but down the road I think I became immune,” said Russ, an eight-year Tahoe Forest Hospital employee, who has received a flu vaccine for the past few years. “If [a vaccine] is available to me, I think it’s worth taking advantage of.”Russ, who works in Tahoe Forest Hospital’s radiology department, is one of 80 health care providers in Truckee who will receive Flu Mist, a nasal vaccine for healthy people younger than 49. Health care providers are considered an high-risk group for spreading the flu virus because of their close contact with patients.Tahoe Forest Hospital received 300 injection vaccines from Nevada County for the rest of the local high-risk population. That is those who are older than 65, pregnant women, nursing-home residents and those hospitalized in the past year with heart disease, diabetes, blood diseases, weak immunity systems, lung disease, kidney disease and asthma.The vaccines come after a statewide shortage that delayed widespread distribution of flu vaccines for approximately one month. Now the Centers for Disease Control has released vaccines to Nevada County.Several of the 300 vaccines will be distributed to Truckee physicians offices, said Chris Spencer, Tahoe Forest Hospital infection control practitioner.Spencer stressed that the “worried well” – those who are concerned about contracting the flu virus but aren’t at risk of serious illness or death – should follow precautions against getting sick (see sidebar: “Flu prevention tips”).
As always, prevention is the best medicine against a flu outbreak, she said.”It is important for the well to be conscientious about hand washing and covering their mouths when they sneeze and cough … so they don’t expose [the virus] to other people,” Spencer said.Check it outHospital, county offer flu vaccines• Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 1:30 3:30 p.m.• Medical Office Building (across the street from Tahoe Forest Hospital), 10956 Donner Pass Road
• Walk-in flu clinic; first come, first servedHere are some suggestions on how to prevent the spread of germs and the flu.(Information taken from the Centers for Disease Control Web site, http://www.CDC.gov).Stop spreading the germs • Stay at home when you are sick. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and keep your distance from others if you are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and wash your hands often using these guidelines. • It is recommend that when you wash your hands use soap and warm water and wash for 15 to 20 seconds. That’s about the same time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. • When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn’t need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.• Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away. Cover your cough or sneeze if you do not have a tissue. Then, clean your hands.• In the workplace: Disinfect common use items like phones, copier, fax and computer keyboard by wiping down occasionally. • Stay home if you are sick!• Stay healthy by getting enough sleep, getting physical activity, managing stress, drinking water and eating good food. This goes for everyone! Children and adults can benefit from habits that will keep them healthy through the flu season and all year long.
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Local coronavirus cases reached 3,292 on Friday, a rise of 35 from the day before.