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|Topic: CROW WING|
Joined: June 16 2009
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| Topic: CROW WING
Posted: September 30 2009 at 6:43am
Crow Wing County Information
Joined: September 24 2009
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|Posted: October 21 2009 at 12:00pm|
County fears delay in getting H1N1 flu vaccine
The H1N1 virus has arrived but it's unclear how long Brainerd lakes area residents will have to wait for the H1N1 flu vaccine.
Joyce Mueller, nurse manager at Crow Wing County Public Health, said the three mass immunization clinics planned in early November at Forestview Middle School in Baxter as well as Pequot Lakes and Crosby-Ironton high schools have been temporarily postponed because the county likely will not receive enough vaccine by that time. There is also a shortage of the seasonal flu vaccine. She said the county is expected to receive about 420 doses of the seasonal flu vaccine within the month.
"The amount of vaccine for seasonal influenza and H1N1 is beyond our control," noted Dr. Peter Henry, medical consultant for Crow Wing County Public Health and medical director of the emergency room at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd. "It isn't a matter of being prepared for it, we don't have the vaccine and can't get it. That's the way it is."
Mueller said the county is monitoring the types of vaccine shipments, either injections or FluMist, that will be available and that will determine who will be able to get the vaccines first. Mueller said there will be more of the FluMist available in about a month, so the county will use the nasal spray vaccine to target healthy 2-4-year-olds and the parents, family members and caregivers who have no chronic health conditions of infants 6 months and younger.
"We want to provide a cocoon around that infant, for anyone spending time with that infant, to get them vaccinated to protect that baby," Mueller explained.
The FluMist vaccine cannot be used on children younger than 2.
The smaller shipment of injectable vaccine the county may initially receive within a month will be used for pregnant women and medically fragile children, those who cannot get the FluMist vaccine.
Mueller said Public Health will notify the public when it receives those shipments and is ready to begin H1N1 vaccinations.
Henry said St. Joseph's emergency room experienced an increase in patients last weekend with more than 110 patients on Saturday and more than 100 on Sunday, an estimated 30-40 percent exhibited flu-like symptoms.
"I think we're going to see a significant surge over the next few weeks," said Henry. "This isn't an unexpected thing. It would have been nice to have the immunization from the vaccine manufacturers but we don't have that."
Henry said St. Joseph's has sent 15 tests from patients hospitalized with suspected H1N1 virus to the Minnesota Department of Health and so far two cases, both children, were confirmed to have the H1N1 virus. Six of those tests are still pending and seven tests were negative for H1N1, more than likely it was another type of viral illness, said Henry.
Henry said Brainerd Lakes Health officials have discussed extending hours at its clinics, Conveient Care and Urgent Care because of the increased cases of flu-like illnesses and to take some of the load off of the emergency room, but have decided to hold off at this point.
Brian Blom, director of occupational health and safety at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby, said the hospital experienced heavier than normal ER use over the weekend but not all cases were influenza-related.
"We are seeing a little increase in the number of patients presenting with influenza-type illnesses but we're able to handle the amount of cases we're seeing," said Debra Anderson, director of nursing at Central Lakes Medical Clinic in Crosby.
Medical staff in Crosby and Brainerd, along with Crow Wing Public Health, have been meeting regularly and working collaboratively to plan for a major surge in influenza cases. If this happens, either hours at any of their medical facilities will be expanded or the last option is to open flu centers that deal with influenza-related illnesses only.
Dr. Troy Couture, a pediatrician at Brainerd Medical Center, said there are other viral illnesses going around right now, but the majority of the cases likely are caused by the H1N1 virus.
"We're definitely seeing an uptick in the amount of patients with a fever and cough, it's more like what we see in January," said Couture.
Couture said most of his patients seem to be tolerating the flu well. He recommends that parents treat their children's symptoms, making sure they're comfortable, well hydrated, that they get plenty of rest and stay home from school. He said parents are welcome to call the clinic to find out if their child needs to be seen by a doctor or receive anti-viral treatments like Tamiflu. Children under 2 likely may need to be seen because they're at an increased risk for serious complications. Children with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, should be seen by a doctor, said Couture.
"We would prefer if people would contact us, it would help to keep the burden off the ER a little bit," said Couture.
Couture said he and his colleagues had hoped that the school break Thursday and Friday would have helped alleviate the spread of the flu, but Monday was one of the busiest days in the clinic, he said.
Joined: August 28 2009
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|Posted: March 25 2011 at 9:02am|
Influenza outbreaks remain elevated
Vaccine still available
Posted: March 24, 2011
Influenza activity is elevated in Minnesota and Crow Wing County health officials said it’s not too late to get vaccinated.
Public health officials said once people have become ill with influenza they have been sick for five to 10 days and in bed with high temperatures.
One woman reported feeling fine and going out to a friend’s gathering only to be suddenly taken ill. What started as a sore throat, two hours later turned into a fever that came and went for three days.
“It was like my bones hurt,” she said.
Drinking plenty of liquids helped but the fever and pressure in her head made for a difficult week.
“I was in bed and didn’t want to get up,” she said.
Since the start of the flu season, 25 influenza-related deaths have been reported in the state with 12 of those deaths reported recently.
The state Department of Health reported 101 people were hospitalized in Minnesota with laboratory-confirmed influenza the week of March 13-19.
Influenza activity remained “elevated” in the state last week.
Margie Young, senior administrative technical specialist for immunizations at Crow Wing County, said vaccine is plentiful in the lakes area from clinics to pharmacies to public health offices.
“It’s not too late,” said Stephanie Kubas, Crow Wing County. “March is historically a bad flu month.”
In the state, there are 13 schools reporting outbreaks of influenza-like illness recently, including one reporting an outbreak in Crow Wing County during the week of March 6-12. In February, the Pequot Lakes School District reported an outbreak among elementary school students, Crow Wing County reported.
Since the start of the flu season, 11 weeks ago, 202 schools have reported outbreaks and so have 33 long-term care facilities.
The seasonal influenza — which is a contagious upper respiratory infection that can be prevented with an annual vaccination — affects an individual’s nose, throat and lungs. It’s not the stomach variety.
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue. Some people may experience vomiting and diarrhea or have the respiratory symptoms without a fever. Health officials note the illness has the potential to lead to hospitalization and death.
The ways to prevent the spread of influenza are known even to the smallest of children these days — cover the nose and mouth when coughing. And those hand-wash bottles appear on nearly every countertop from businesses to churches. Hand washing is encouraged along with avoiding touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth and spreading germs.
This year’s flu vaccine contains the H1N1 strain, a B strain and a H3 strain not in the 2009-10 vaccine. So health officials say even if people received a flu vaccine last year, getting a seasonal flu shot this year is recommended. Health workers and care givers, especially those in households with infants 6 months or younger, are encouraged to get the vaccine.
Crow Wing County public health officials said people should check with their medical providers regarding shots. There are also area pharmacies throughout the area offering flu shots. But if there are barriers to people to get the shots, public health is also offering public walk in flu clinics in March and April. The Minnesota Department of Health website, www.mdhflu.com, lists clinic locations.
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