“Know What to Do About the Flu” Forums Start Sept. 22 in Burlington

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month

For Immediate Release:
Sept. 9, 2009

Media Contact:
Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – “Know What to Do About the Flu” forums will be held during September, Emergency Preparedness Month, and beyond to brief local leaders and residents about preparations now underway for the new flu – 2009 H1N1 influenza – along with the regular seasonal flu this fall.

Sponsored by the Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Emergency Management, the first of four forums will be held in Burlington at the Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, September 22, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

State officials and public health experts will be on hand to discuss preparations the state is making – including plans for offering H1N1 vaccine to those groups of people most at risk for serious illness – as well as the actions communities and individuals can take to cope with the flu.

More forums are planned for Sept. 29 at the Rutland Holiday Inn, Sept. 30 at Springfield High School, and Oct. 1 at Lyndon Institute. All forums will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“Like a snowstorm, we cannot stop the flu from happening – either the regular, seasonal flu or the new pandemic flu – but we can all work to lessen the impact on our families and communities,” said Health Commissioner Wendy Davis, MD. “This flu season is certain to be complex, and it will be even more important for Vermonters to know the precautions they can take and preparations they can make.”

The Health Department recommends – as is the case every year – that all Vermonters get vaccinated against the regular, seasonal flu as the best way to prevent catching or spreading it. In addition, vaccine for the new flu, 2009 H1N1, is expected to start coming into the state as early as mid-October, and the Health Department is working with multiple partners statewide to plan a vaccination effort. The first groups of people recommended to receive the H1N1 vaccine are those who were most seriously affected this spring and summer:

People who are sick with influenza can spread the virus through coughs and sneezes. If you’re sick with flu-like symptoms (sore throat, bad cough, body aches or chills, usually a fever of 100ºF or more, extreme fatigue, sometimes vomiting or diarrhea), stay home from work or school for at least 24 hours after fever has gone away.

Most people who are sick with flu will not need to see a health care provider and can be cared for at home. If you need medical attention, call your health care provider first.

Extensive information, tools and resources about seasonal and pandemic flu, healthy habits and preparedness are available at the Health Department’s website: healthvermont.gov or dial 2-1-1. You can also follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/healthvermont.

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