9/21/2009 6:52:18 PM

 

Dear Neighbors,

Well, here we are again, on the brink of another flu season.  As a member of the Westchester County Board of Health, however, I have particular concerns this year about the health and well-being of residents in our district – and what we can do to keep both the regular and H1N1 types of flu at bay.

While the H1N1 flu, previously known as the “swine flu,” made headlines last spring – and is expected to resurge in this area this fall and winter – we cannot minimize the importance of protecting yourself against the regular flu as well.  Now is the time individuals (particularly seniors, children, pregnant women and adults with chronic conditions) should get their regular flu shots, which are available from physicians, various pharmacies including some CVS stores, and community clinics.

A list of community health centers, which provide low-cost flu shots and health care, and the phone numbers and web sites of chain pharmacies where you can get a free or low-cost flu shot, are available on the County Health Department web site, at www.westchestercountygov.com/health.

As our County Health Commissioner, Dr. Joshua Lipsman, reminded me, the regular flu is responsible for about 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths each year in the United States. And while County health leaders will certainly be keeping a close eye on the potential spread of the H1N1 flu, Dr. Lipsman stressed the County’s primary focus now is making sure residents who want flu shots get them.

In addition to ensuring a ready and accessible H1N1 vaccine supply, I’d like to assure you that the County already has a plan in place should a widespread outbreak occur. County government has coordinated a response plan involving the health department and area hospitals, schools, businesses and residents that would help to minimize the spread of the virus to whatever extent is possible.

The H1N1 vaccine will not be available before mid-October.  Tips on controlling the spread of all flu – which range from simple measures like washing your hands frequently and after you sneeze and coughing into your sleeve to staying home a full 24 hours after a fever subsides – also are on-line on the County health department’s web site.

As always, feel free to call me for more information at (914) 995-2802.

Best,

Judith A. Myers