Multi-Language Flu Information

24 01 2011

How many times have you been confused by the information (or misinformation) about influenza? Just sorting symptoms, risk factors, vaccination information, and different strains can be a bit of a challenge. Now imagine that you don’t speak the language in which the information is written. Not easy, to say the least.

The CDC’s flu.gov website has a helpful page, “Flu Essentials – What You Need To Know” – with everything you need to know in various languages, including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Arabic, Russian, Tagalog, Korean and Vietnamese.

The page links to information sheets that one can print out, and the info sheets cover topics such as “People with Asthma,” “Emergency Warning Signs,” “Pregnancy,” “10 Ways You Can Stay Healthy at Work,” and more.

Everyone is entitled to make an informed decision when it comes to their health and parents must do so on behalf of their children. If you or someone you know could use this important information in a language other than English, be sure to share this blog with them!

¿Cuántas veces ha sido confundido por la información (o información incorrecta) sobre la influenza? Sólo clasificar los síntomas, factores de riesgo, la información de la vacunación, y las tipos diferentes pueden ser un poco un difícil de entender. Ahora imagine que usted no habla el idioma en que está escrita la información.? No es fácil, por decir lo menos.

El CDC tiene una página web, “Fundamentos de la gripe – Lo que usted necesita saber” – con todo lo que necesita saber en varios idiomas, incluyendo español, francés, alemán, italiano, árabe, ruso, tagalo, coreano y vietnamita.

La página le lleva a las hojas de información que se puede imprimir, y las hojas de información cubren temas tales como “Las personas con asma”, “Señales de Alerta de Emergencia”, “Embarazo”, “10 maneras de cuidar su salud en el trabajo , “y mucho más.

Cada uno tiene derecho a tomar una decisión informada cuando viene a su salud y los padres deben hacerlo en nombre de sus niños. ¡Si usted o alguien que usted sabe podría utilizar esta información importante en un idiomia distinto del inglés, esté seguro de compartir este acoplamiento con éllos!





Flu and the Vulnerable

8 01 2010

Be it swine or seasonal, influenza can knock people off their feet for days. Sometimes the infection leads to hospitalization and, rarely, death. It’s not a disease anyone should ignore.

It can be bad for those without health issues, but there are several groups of people who are at greater risk of complications from influenza, including those with physical and/or developmental challenges.

Physical challenges can interfere with the body’s ability to fight infection. For example, folks living with chronic diseases or conditions, such as HIV, asthma or diabetes, are more likely to be severely affected by influenza.

Developmental challenges interfere with a person’s ability to understand and make decisions, which can make it difficult to know when or how to take precautions and evaluate one’s own health status.

Difficulty communicating may make it hard to tell others about one’s symptoms. This increases the risk of developing more serious illness.

Some people who are physically or developmentally challenged live alone and may be less likely to be monitored closely for illness symptoms, which can also result in more serious illness.

Children aged 5 and younger have a higher risk for developing complications from influenza, and for a child living with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, or weakened immune system from HIV/AIDS or cancer, the risk for developing complications from influenza is amplified.

In addition to precautions such as covering coughs and sneezes and washing hands frequently, the flu vaccine, if used by everyone, can keep at-risk people safe from influenza and its complications.

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Two Sisters, One Virus (H1N1)

21 10 2009

My teenage daughter is recovering from H1N1. For weeks, I’ve pressed an ear against her thin, little chest (No, dear, I don’t mean “little” in that way) listening for the slightest gurgle or wheeze.

I’ve hovered countless times, peering into her eyes, looking for the slightest hesitation, and asked, “Are you having any trouble breathing?”

She has, so far, answered no.

Younger days

Younger days

She coughs phlegmatically, yet produces little phlegm.  She sniffs, but no longer wants to blow her sore, red nose.  Her fever, aches, diarrhea, chills, fatigue, and sore throat have all gone away.

She’s…fine.  Yet, I still hover and query as she grows more impatient with my ministration.

I can’t help it.  I’m her mom.

My 10-year-old remained healthy throughout her sister’s bout with H1N1, but I had to get her vaccinated.  We’re big on vaccines in this house.  We prefer a poke in the arm or spray up the nose to days or weeks of feeling miserable.

When my teen became infected, the H1N1 vaccine had just come out but couldn’t be found in our area.  I was determined to track it down for my youngest.  The county health department wasn’t much help.  The pediatric clinic my girls go to, the largest in our town, said it had not received any and didn’t know when they would.

A couple of days ago, I realized that I had failed to ask the clinic if they knew who did have the vaccine.  I called and was told they’d received a surprise shipment that morning from the health department.  They were vaccinating for that one day only and would stop at 4pm.  It was 3:10 and my daughter was somewhere close, on her way home, bouncing on the back seat of the school bus because that’s where fifth graders get to sit.

She finally got home and we jumped in the car, arriving at the clinic about 3:30 p.m.  Because the parking lot was full in front, we had to park in the back forty, hike to the building, and climb through some bushes to get to an entry.  Which we did–in a hurry–with me pushing or pulling her the entire way.

The line at the pediatric desk was long and slow.  I kept glancing at the clock while shifting from foot to foot.  The line was not moving.

In a loud voice, I asked if the H1N1 clinic was in this office and if it was really closing at 4 p.m.  Whispered conferences were held behind the desk and someone said the clinic was two floors up, but they were out of vaccine.  Being a mom, I shouldered my way to the front of the line and explained that this couldn’t possibly be because the woman on the phone told me they would be vaccinating until 4 p.m. and we had another 20 minutes.

The whisperers disappeared into the back.  Mutterings were heard, but not deciphered.

After four minutes, a head appeared around the corner and said they were still vaccinating in room 330.

We rushed to the elevators.  I just stopped myself from butting in front of a woman who was slowly moving forward with the aid of her walker.

Shortly after, and with five minutes to spare, I watched my youngest get vaccine sprayed up her nose.

I know that some parents are worried about the vaccine.

It was made quickly, and that makes parents wonder.  I had some questions for a few scientists when the vaccine came out, which they answered, and I realized that, although the vaccine was made quickly, it did go through clinical trials.  It was made the same way the seasonal influenza vaccine is made each year.  It’s effective and it’s safe.

I’ve seen both sides of this rotten H1N1–one child infected, the other protected.  There is no doubt as to which I prefer.

(This personal account was provided by Trish Parnell, a very relieved mom.)

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H1N1 Vaccine Information Sheets (Spanish)

7 10 2009

H1N1 Inactivated Vaccine VIS – Inactivada

H1N1 LAIV VIS – Viva atenuada





H1N1 Vaccine Information Sheets!

2 10 2009

H1N1 Inactivated Vaccine VIS
H1N1 LAIV VIS


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H1N1 Update

1 10 2009

Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC spoke today on H1N1 infections, vaccines, and antivirals.  Here are some notes to catch us up on the news of the day:

  • There’s substantial flu illness in most of country – in most all of the states, which is unusual for this time of year.
  • As of late August, there were about 100 pregnant women in the U.S. who required ICU hospitalization for H1N1, and 28 had died.
  • Antiviral medications can be important for pregnant women.  Getting vaccinated is an important way to protect oneself, although pregnant women cannot use the live attenuated vaccine, only the inactivated vaccine, so no nasal spray, only shots.
  • In the general population, bacteria have had an important role in some of the fatal cases.  Of the 77 cases of H1N1 deaths that have been reviewed, about one-third could have been prevented with a pneumococcal vaccine.  Check with your providers to see if this is something you or your loved ones should get.
  • HHS Secretary Sebelius released to the states 300,000 courses of liquid Tamiflu for children, and each state that needs their portion of that supply will receive it.  Texas and Colorado have already received theirs.  The expiration dates on some of this product have passed, but the FDA tested them and determined they were safe and effective and extended the expiration dates.
  • People with severe illness can benefit from antivirals, and those with symptoms whose underlying conditions may cause a more serious course of H1N1 disease should get antivirals.   See Flu Essentials at flu.gov for warning signs of serious illness.
  • The H1N1 vaccine effort has moved into the implementation phase.  States and large cities that are part of the program started to place orders yesterday, with 25 sites placing orders for about 600,000 doses of vaccine.
  • In the future, every Friday, CDC will provide updates through Wednesday of that week on how much H1N1 vaccine is available, how much has shipped out, and to what location it has shipped.
  • Right now they are shipping out the live attenuated vaccine only.  Rumors are going around that healthcare workers cannot receive the live attenuated, but if they are under 50 years of age with no chronic medical conditions, they should be able to receive it.
  • Dr. Schuchat made it clear that for H1N1 vaccine manufacture, safety was the top priority.  No corners were cut in production.  It was produced exactly as seasonal influenza vaccine is produced with even more clinical trials.

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Antibacterial soap – yes or no?

10 09 2009

You gotta love handwashing.  Water, soap, rub, and rinse.  Too easy and gets rid of lots of germs.

The question seems to be: do we need to use antibacterial soap?

Natural soap contains fatty acids that allow oil and water to come together more easily, which in turn allows the water we’re using to carry away the germ-infested oil and grease on our hands.

In the 1990s, antibacterial soaps came on the market for home use.  It seems like using them would be a no-brainer, but experts can’t agree on this.

One concern is whether long-term and widespread use of antimicrobials is contributing to the creation of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”

Environmental experts are voicing concern about the long-term effects of triclosan and other chemicals used in these antibacterial products, which are building up in our waste water system, and ultimately being dumped into the environment where they disturb the natural ecosystem by killing desirable and important microbes.

In addition to questions about the environmental impact, the actual effectiveness of these ingredients in household soaps is now in doubt.  Most experts agree that antibacterial soaps are unnecessary in a healthy home setting, and may actually do more harm than good.

A 2004 report in Annals of Internal Medicine found that in a 48-week randomized double-blind study, there was no statistical difference in illness symptoms between the families that used exclusively antibacterial products, and the families that used exclusively non-antibacterial cleaning products.

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H1N1 Vaccine Questions? Ask Dr. Anne

4 09 2009

Chief Science Officer Dr. Anne Schuchat answers parents questions about the 2009 H1N1 flu and the vaccine to protect against it. Children aged six months through 24 years are recommended to receive H1N1 flu vaccine. Learn more about it, and how you can protect your family with this vaccine.

This video can also be viewed at http://www.cdc.gov/cdctv/ or on the CDC podcast page.





Babies, Kids, and H1N1

3 09 2009

Delivery/Post-Partum and H1N1 – what do I do?

Breastfeeding may help protect newborns against influenza, but mom’s good handwashing habits before and after breastfeeding are just as important. If you are on medication for flu, you can still breastfeed. Your provider may suggest that you wear a mask when near your baby. If you have symptoms, you can still breastfeed; the milk is not contagious. But stay away from your baby if you are feverish.

Mothers who are infected with H1N1 when they deliver do not necessarily have to be separated from their newborn. A mother on medication should be able to breastfeed; separating her from her infant would not be advantageous. A mother who is actively sick with symptoms will not be very capable of caring for an infant and will need help, which will also help minimize contact and transmission. All caregivers should be vaccinated, and should also get a Tdap vaccination (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis).

Do I need to worry about outbreaks in schools?

Because of the H1N1 outbreaks in community settings (camps, e.g.) this summer, experts do expect schools to be breeding grounds for H1N1.

School closure is an option, but is not expected to be necessary. Students (or anyone) with flu symptoms should stay home.

Other Concerns

Getting the pneumococcal vaccine can help reduce your risk of developing pneumonia as a complication of influenza infection.

For mothers infected with H1N1, masks are recommended in certain circumstances. Talk with your provider if you’re concerned. You should not need to wear a mask or gloves at home.

Do NOT attend a “flu party.” You should NOT purposefully infect yourself, or your children, with H1N1.

Recommendations

  • Fever and respiratory symptoms need to be taken seriously. Call your provider if you have any symptoms or concerns. Ask them for specific instructions; for example, they may want you to put on a mask before entering their office to help prevent infecting pregnant women.
  • Get vaccinated for both seasonal and H1N1 flu viruses. The seasonal vaccine will not protect you against H1N1.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Maintaining good nutrition and getting plenty of rest will also help prevent illness.
  • Continue to receive prenatal care from your provider.
  • Everyone who is sick should stay home.

To get vaccinated, talk with your provider. OB/GYNs are supposed to receive vaccine to have on hand, in addition to clinics, pharmacies, and other typical venues for flu vaccine administration. If you have any concerns, about anything, at any time, talk with your provider – that’s what they’re there for!

To explore this issue further, visit:

Check with your provider to see if immunization is right for you and your family.

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Pregnancy and H1N1 Vaccine

2 09 2009

So you’re pregnant, and you don’t want to get flu, but you also want to know that whatever goes into your body isn’t going to hurt your baby. Here’s info on H1N1 and the vaccine to help you make the best decision for you and your baby.

Is vaccination safe for pregnant women and their unborn babies?

Killed virus vaccines, such as the flu vaccines in shot form, are so safe that any risk to the unborn baby is nearly unmeasurable. FluMist, however, is live and cannot be given to pregnant women. (It can be given to other members of the family who are eligible to receive it.)

What about thimerosol?

As a pregnant woman, you can ask for a thimerosol-free vaccine, because providers are being directed to reserve thimerosol-free doses for pregnant women (and younger children) who are concerned about thimerosol. It should be noted that many studies conducted by independent bodies have shown that thimerosol does not pose any danger.

Should I get both the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines?

Pregnant women can get both vaccines. It’s recommended that you get each vaccine when it becomes available. The seasonal flu vaccine will be available sooner than the H1N1 vaccine, which should come out mid-October.

Should I wait until later my pregnancy to get vaccinated?

Pregnant women can receive the flu vaccines at any time during pregnancy, including the first trimester. In fact, it’s recommended that pregnant women receive the vaccine early on, since respiratory issues later in pregnancy can be more serious.

You can start the 2-dose H1N1 vaccination series during pregnancy and finish it after your baby is born. Babies ages 0-6 months cannot get the flu vaccine, so if the mother gets the vaccine during pregnancy, it can help protect her baby.

Other concerns…

The vaccine is safe for women planning on natural childbirth. Disease is a natural process, but so is building immunity.
Alternative/online education could be an option for pregnant teens enrolled in schools experiencing outbreaks (because teens are generally considered higher risk for H1N1 as it is). If you are a pregnant young adult attending college, you can continue attending even if cases of H1N1 are reported. You should definitely get vaccinated and wash your hands – a lot.

Patients receiving treatment for infertility can get the flu vaccines. There is zero evidence that flu vaccine harms development of the unborn baby’s brain.

Pregnant healthcare workers need the H1N1 vaccine. If the flu is very active around them, their job description may need to be adjusted.

What should I do if I’m pregnant and get exposed to H1N1?

If you are exposed to a KNOWN case of H1N1, tell your provider; you may need medication. If 5 kids in your child’s school have it, this is not the same as being directly exposed.

Check with your provider to see if immunization is right for you and your family.

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