Includes H1N1 vaccine
Marion County Health Department had such a positive reaction to H1N1 influenza vaccines given as a nasal spray in 2009 that the department is making seasonal influenza vaccines available in the spray form, Health Administrator Diedre Serene said.
“People who get the nasal love it,” Serene said.
She said the nasal spray is especially good for children who might be upset by an injection. However, while vaccinating students at a local school, one child specifically chose the injected vaccine.
The 2010 seasonal flu vaccine includes influenza A/H3N2, A/H1N1 — the pandemic flu of recent years — and B.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend everyone 6 months or older should be vaccinated against the flu, with a few exceptions. Anyone with a severe allergy to eggs shouldn’t be vaccinated, because the vaccine is grown in eggs.
People with any life-threatening allergies should consult with a health care provider before being vaccinated. The CDC also recommends anyone moderately or severely ill wait to recover to be vaccinated.
The nasal spray is appropriate for people ages 2 through 49, with some limitations. People who shouldn’t receive the nasal spray vaccine include pregnant women, anyone with a weakened immune system or in close contact with someone with a weakened immune system, children and adolescents on long-term aspirin treatment, and people with long-term heart, kidney, liver, lung, or metabolic disease, asthma, or anemia.
Vaccinations are available between 1:30 and 4 p.m. every Wednesday at the Health Department. Patients can also contact doctors’ offices about vaccination.
Hospitals focus on prevention
Local hospitals are preparing for flu season with a focus on preventing the spread of germs. Hillsboro Community Hospital is emphasizing hand-washing and surgical masks for anyone with a cough, Director of Nursing Johna Magnuson said.
St. Luke Hospital in Marion has set up “Cover your Cough” stations at several points in the hospital, Infection Control Chairman Brenda Rhodes said. Those stations include surgical masks and tissues.
St. Luke Hospital is encouraging staff members to get the flu vaccine, and Rhodes expects 90 percent participation.
The 2009-10 flu season was mild, Magnuson and Rhodes said. Neither expects a particularly severe flu season, but both hospitals are preparing for the worst.