LETTER: Are you ready?

Published 7:39 am Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The flu (influenza) season will soon begin — Are you prepared? This fall — as every fall — we not only have to plan for seasonal influenza, but in addition, another potentially serious strain, the new 2009 novel H1N1 virus.

Mower County Public Health and Austin Medical Center have been meeting regularly to prepare for the upcoming flu season and offer the following suggestions to help keep you and your family, and your organizations safe and healthy this flu season:

Parents — with school starting soon, remind your children to cover their cough and wash their hands often so they become accustomed to it.

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Businesses — dust off your contingency operational plans in case you have many staff out sick. Remind staff to stay home if they are sick.

Everyone — wash your hands, stay at home if you’re sick, cover your cough with a tissue or your sleeve, and limit contact with other people who are sick.

Preparations are taking place now to set up community seasonal influenza (flu) clinics. These will be occurring earlier this year. As soon as the dates, times and locations are set, we will let the community know.

We are receiving information from the CDC about plans for H1N1 vaccination later this fall. Continue to look for updates in the media and/or from Mower County Public Health and Austin Medical Center about this and other flu prevention tips.

Margene Gunderson, BSN, PHN, MA

Director of Community Health Services

Richard Schindler, M.D., Austin

Medical Center

Medical Director of Infection Control