No matter what this flu season brings, just remember all the government machinations and medical planning in the world can't trump the age-old wisdom of mom.
"What momma said was true," said JoAnn Ventura, spokeswoman at Bellevue Hospital. "The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands and use sanitizer."
H1N1 Resources and information
Ohio H1N1 hotline: 866-800-1404
Q: What do I do if I'm sick and it might be H1N1 flu or seasonal flu?
A: Stay home unless you need urgent medical care. The Ohio Department of Health and area medical professionals suggest getting plenty of rest and drinking plenty of fluids. You shouldn't return to work or school until you're fever-free for 24 hours without any fever-reducing medication.
Q: Who should get the H1N1 vaccine?
A: While the H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available to everyone eventually, the CDC has targeted certain groups early on. These include: pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months old, health care and medical workers, people ages 6 months to 24 years old, and people ages 25 to 64 who have chronic health disorders or weak immune systems. Infant 6 months old and younger are too young to receive the H1N1 or seasonal flu vaccines, according to the CDC.
Q: Is the H1N1 vaccine safe?
A: There's plenty of literature on the CDC and state health department Web site, answering precisely this question. Erie County health commissioner Pete Schade said, "It's not like it's a brand new vaccine. It's a variant of what's already out there. I don't think the safety issue is something folks should worry about."
Q: When can I get the vaccine?
A: Where you fall in the target group guidelines will determine when you can get the H1N1 vaccine. Health officials are targeting first responders and medical workers to receive the vaccination first, though some health departments are already offering vaccinations to pregnant women, a high-priority target group. As more vaccinations become available, local health departments will roll out community clinics where the H1N1 vaccines will be administered. Check local health department Web sites for updates on those clinic dates, which will also be featured in the Register as more information becomes available.