CPS Recommends Risk Group to get Seasonal Flu Vaccine

POSTED: 05/31/11 11:36 AM

St. Maarten – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is recommending high risk groups to get their seasonal flu vaccination. The recommendation is being made against the backdrop of sporadic cases of Influenza A (H1N1) being reported in the Americas since the beginning of the year by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The region is still in the post-pandemic stage of the outbreak. This means that Influenza A (H1N1) virus has taken on a behaviour and intensity similar to that of regular seasonal influenza viruses.
Family physicians have been updated and have been requested to be on alert. The H1N1 vaccine components have been worked into the seasonal flu vaccines.
Persons who form part of the risk group are all pregnant women who are in the last six months of pregnancy or second trimester – from their fourth month onwards; with pulmonary disease: asthma (when maintenance medication is given; this also holds true for children), COPD, carcinoma of the lung, anthracosilicosis, lungfibrosis, mucoviscidosis, severe kyfoscoliosis, status after resection of a lung, breathing difficulties; with cardiac disease: having experienced a myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, arrhythmias, valve dysfunction, cardiac failure; with diabetes mellitus, even if not on medication; with chronic kidney disease/failure: dialysis, kidney transplant; after a recent bone marrow transplant; with HIV-infection; with an intellectual disability in an intramural setting; with a diminished resistance to infections: livercirrosis, (functional) asplenia, auto-immune illnesses, chemotherapy, immunosuppressive medication; 60 years and older.
Front-line workers as well as health care workers who may be in contact with patients pertaining to the medical risk groups (personnel in nursing homes, senior citizen home, hospital, outpatient clinics and general practitioner/specialist practices), should also get the flu vaccination. Home care givers of people with a very high risk for severe illness and mortality due to the flu should also be vaccinated.
The symptoms of influenza A (H1N1) flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with the virus. Members of the community are advised to check with their family physician on their seasonal flu vaccine and are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their family members from infection by maintaining high standards of personal hygiene.
Steps of personal hygiene entail covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough; washing your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after contact with respiratory secretions (e.g., after sneezing and coughing). Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs spread this way.
Consult your family physician in due time and do not place others at risk. Take the necessary protection when in the vicinity of any sick persons. Eat healthy foods, get a lot of exercise and maintain a good sleep schedule which is usually eight hours.

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