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March 19, 2016 - 12:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in flu, county health department, news.

A Flu Alert has been issued by the Genesee County Health Department:

ALERT: Over the last few weeks, flu cases are on the rise locally and throughout New York! The flu virus tends to spread from October to May, with most cases occurring in January or February.

“It is important to note that vaccinations can be given at any time during the flu season," said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. "Even getting a vaccination later in the season (December through March) can still help protect you from influenza."

For information on positive influenza laboratory results reported to the New York State Department of Health by season, click on the link below:

http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/surveillance/2015-2016/flu_report_current_week.pdf

It is important to call your doctor, pharmacist or health department to make sure they have a supply of flu vaccine in stock before going.           

Everyone six months and older should be vaccinated against the flu. The vaccine can help protect you from getting the flu, and it can help protect the ones you love.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you get the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available to you, even if you got vaccinated last season.

There are two main reasons for getting the flu vaccine every year. The flu viruses constantly change, so vaccines are often updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and the most common viruses going around. The other reason is, the protection a person gets from receiving a flu vaccination declines over time. For example, if you are vaccinated in November, 10 months down the road your protection against that year’s flu is not as strong as it was when you originally were vaccinated.

Anyone, even healthy people, can get sick from the flu. This illness can be very serious, and can lead to hospitalizations and even death. According to the CDC, each year in the United States a range of 3,000 to 49,000 people die from the flu or flu-associated illnesses.  http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/us_flu-related_deaths.htm

“Being vaccinated every flu season is especially important for those at high risk for serious flu-related complications. It is also as important for those who live with or care for people who are at high risk,” said Paul Pettit, director of Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

People with higher risks for flu-related complications are:

  • Pregnant women (can only receive flu shots, not the nasal-spray flu vaccine) to provide protection for themselves and their babies;
  • Children younger than five, but especially children younger than 2 years old;
  • Adults age 65 and older;
  • Individuals with a chronic medical condition such as asthma, diabetes, HIV, etc.;
  • Residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;
  • People who life with or care for those at high risk of complications from the flu, including health care personnel, household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children younger than 6 months (these children are too young to be vaccinated), and caregivers of infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units.

Flu-related complications can result in hospitalization and occasionally result in death. Complications include pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus or ear infections. The flu also can make chronic health problems worse. For example, those who have asthma, often experience more asthma attacks when they are ill with the flu.

It is also important to know there are some people who should not be vaccinated. They include:

  • Children younger than 6 months;
  • People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past;
  • People who have developed Guillain- Barré syndrome within six weeks of getting a flu vaccination;
  • If you have a severe allergy to chicken eggs, you can get the flu shot, but you will need to be supervised by a health care provider for at least 30 minutes after vaccination;
  • People who are sick with fever.

More information about the flu is available at the State Health Department Web Site at: www.health.ny.gov/immunization.

For information about influenza or health department services contact:

March 12, 2016 - 1:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in UMMC, flu, batavia, news.

Press release:

With the continued increase in the number of influenza cases at United Memorial Medical Center and in the community, the Hospital will be strictly following established visitor guidelines and implementing restrictions in order to safeguard the health of our patients.

Effective March 10, patients at United Memorial will be allowed only two (2) visitors at one time. No visitors under the age of 14 years will be allowed. Individuals with a sore throat, runny nose, fever, or other influenza type symptoms should not visit patients.

As an organization we understand the importance of loved ones and friends in the healing process. Exceptions to the visitor policy must be approved by the unit manager or nursing supervisor prior to the visitor’s arrival at the hospital. These restrictions have been put into place to protect those with weakened or fragile immune systems and those who care for them, from harm during the influenza outbreak.

Everyone should remember to use appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette to prevent the spread of influenza. Symptoms may include fever, muscle aches, sore throat, cough or nasal congestion. Individuals with fever over 100.5˚F and any of the symptoms listed are urged to stay home, seek medical advice as necessary and limit the number of people exposed. Individuals with influenza are contagious for 24 hours prior to exhibiting symptoms.

The hospital is located at 127 North St. in the City of Batavia.

January 11, 2013 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in health, flu.

Flu viruses are hitting most of the nation pretty hard and Genesee County is no exception.

There have been 107 verified cases locally, according to Public Health Director Paul Pettit.

The number of verified cases is already higher than the average of an entire flu season in Genesee County.

"We're still pretty early in the primary flu season," Pettit said. "With what we've seen already, it's clear we have quite a ways to go with seasonal activity."

The flu season is typically January and into April, with the highest activity usually reported in January and February.

A verified flu case is one where there has been a lab test on a patient. Pettit noted that many flu cases never get reported or tested so there have certainly been more than 107 flu cases in Genesee County.

Pettit said anybody with flu symptoms should contact their physician; however, people should only go to the emergency room if displaying higher risk flu symptoms.

"A lot of emergency rooms are getting filled with people who don't really need to be there," Pettit said.

While there have been some reports of vaccine shortages in other parts of the country, Pettit said health department staff has checked with local pharmacies and found that for people 18 and older there is still a supply available.

"It's not to late to get a shot," Pettit said.

For children, supplies of vaccine is running low. The health department has a limited supply, but Pettit said parents should check first with their primary care physicians on availability. The health department's supply is available when other avenues to vaccinate chlldren have already been tried.

September 24, 2010 - 11:36am
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, UMMC, flu.

Here's a news release from the United Memorial Medical Center.

To date, United Memorial Family Care Centers have received only a percentage of their allotted shipment of influenza vaccine due to a manufacturing issue regarding labeling. The balance of the shipment is expected to be delivered by the end of October.

The initial shipment will be reserved for patients considered to be at “high risk” as defined by the New York State Department of Health. Patients of Batavia, Byron and Tountas Family Care Centers who are at high-risk for complications as defined below, should contact their physician office to schedule an appointment for vaccination.

High-risk patients include:

  • Children ages 6 to 59 months;
  • Individuals age 50 years and above who suffer from chronic health issues such as diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular disease;
  • Those who are immuno-suppressed;
  • Women who are or become pregnant during the flu season;
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives;
  • The morbidly obese (body mass index > 40);
  • Health care professionals;
  • Caregivers and household contacts of persons with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications;
  • Caregivers and household contacts of children under 5 years of age and adults age 50 years and older with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children under 6 months of age.

Batavia Family Care (including Yeong Lee, MD) at 16 Bank St., Batavia will conduct vaccination clinics for their high risk patients from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 28 and from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 29.

Patients should call (585) 344-4800 to schedule an appointment. Tountas Family Care at 3 Tountas Ave., LeRoy will schedule patients from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 30. Appointments can be made by phoning (585) 768-6530.

Patients at Byron Family Care, located at 6815 Byron Holley Road, Byron may call (585) 548-7155 to schedule an appointment for their clinic from 8 a.m. to noon on Oct. 1.

All patients are encouraged to receive the influenza vaccine. Those who are not identified as high-risk may call their physician office to schedule an appointment in late October and November. Influenza vaccines are also available at many retail pharmacies.

February 9, 2010 - 3:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, h1n1, flu, Genesee County Health Department.

Here's important information for parents and guardians from the Genesee County Health Department:

In response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the local health department has coordinated H1N1 vaccine distribution to numerous physician offices throughout the county. In addition, we have conducted several Points of Dispensing (POD’s) in order to assist the medical professionals in protecting our community against this virus. A large number of these clinics were established directly at schools within Genesee County prior to the holiday recess in December.

On Jan. 23, a clinic was held at the Batavia City Centre to target the child population requiring a second dose. Children less than 10 years of age need to receive two .25 ml doses of the vaccine at least 28 days apart, to provide the proper immune protection against the H1N1 Virus.

If your child has not received their second dose, we ask you contact the Genesee County Health Department or your primary care physician to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. The vaccine is FREE. Some physicians may require an administrative fee.

For more information on the H1N1 virus and for a schedule of H1N1 clinics in Genesee County, please visit: HYPERLINK "http://www.readyGenesee.com" www.ReadyGenesee.com or call the Genesee County Health Department for an appointment at: 585-344-2580 ext. 5000.

February 7, 2010 - 1:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, h1n1, flu.

Free public influenza clinics will be held by appointment only from 2 to 4 p.m. on Thursdays until further notice.

The Genesee County Health Department offers both the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines. To schedule an appointment, please contact the health department at (585) 344-2580, ext. 5000.

Parents of children ages 9 and under who received their first vaccination more than 28 days ago, are encouraged to bring those children to receive the second (booster) vaccination.  All children under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Additional information and a listing of the many volunteers who devoted their service to the residents of Genesee County throughout this endeavor, are available at www.ReadyGenesee.com and www.co.genesee.ny.us/dpt/publichealth.

January 13, 2010 - 9:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in health, h1n1, flu.

If you haven't gotten a flu shot yet, the Genesee County Health Department has scheduled three more clinics.

There is a clinic today for both seasonal and H1N1 vaccines from noon to 4 p.m. at County Building II.

Another clinic has been set for Jan. 21 from noon to 4 p.m., and an H1N1-only clinic is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 23 at Batavia City Centre. On Jan. 23, priority will be given to children under 9 who need a booster vaccine.

The clinics are open to everyone over 6-months old.

The Health Department can be reached at (585) 344-2580, extension 5000.

January 12, 2010 - 5:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in technology, health, Google, h1n1, flu.

flu_buffalo.gif

flu_rochester.gif

When people have flu-like symptoms, or a friend or relative does, the first thing they do is hop on Google to see if they can self-diagnose or learn more about the illness.

Those searches spike when there are a lot of people feeling sick.

Google has found that its search trends correlate to Center for Disease Control reports, but CDC lags Google's real-time results by about two weeks.

The current trends show minimal concern in the Buffalo and Rochester area (they don't break it down for Batavia specifically) about the flu this month. 

Learn more about how this works by clicking here.

October 28, 2009 - 4:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, UMMC, h1n1, flu.

The spread of H1N1 flu virus has prompted a change in the visiting policy at United Memorial Medical Center.

As a result, starting this week no one under the age of 18 is allowed to visit patients. Heretofore, as with many hospitals, visitors had to be at least 14 years old, although there was flexibility and reasonable exceptions were made.

"We're becoming more restrictive about visitors -- it's for patient safety," said UMMC spokeswoman Colleen Flynn. "We don't want them to become infected. The virus can be especially harmful to a patient with an already compromised immune system."

Also under the new policy, there can only be two visitors per patient at any given time and visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.. Certain units, such as intensive care and pediatrics, may have more time restrictions.

Maternity patients are only allowed visits from their spouse or significant other, and grandparents. Exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis by the nursing supervisor on duty.

Any visitor showing signs of infectious disease, such as a bad cough, will be asked to leave and given a mask to wear on their way out of the hospital.

"We are taking reasonable measures to protect patients, which is our number one priority," Flynn said.

All UMMC healthcare workers have been getting on-site H1N1 vaccinations, which were mandatory. That requirement was lifted, except for those with direct patient contact, which are innoculated first.

The H1N1 virus has been declared a national pandemic. As with other flu viruses, a person can be infected and contagious for 24 hours before showing any symptoms, which can hamper control efforts.

This strain, first identified in spring (not typically the flu season) is considered unusual because children are among the hardest hit.

Flynn said the hospital has seen an increase in the number of young flu sufferers. Some local peditricians are reportedly "swamped" with flu cases and some schools are grappling with absenteeism due to the flu or fear of catching it.

"Most cases are dealt with at home," Flynn said. "People treat it just like they would any flu. But because so much media attention is being paid to (H1N1), sometimes they tend to think the sky is falling. That's not necessarily true."

But do wash your hands frequently.

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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