As of October 28th, 435 people in Santa Clara County have been hospitalized with serious complications related to the H1N1 influenza virus and 13 have died since May. In California, there have been 4,047 hospitalizations and 249 deaths.
Hospitalizations and death are expected during a flu pandemic since people have no or little immunity to this new flu virus. The number of hospitalizations and deaths in our community will continue to increase throughout the fall and winter months. While the virus continues to spread, it is important to remember that most people who have been sick with the H1N1 virus have recovered without needing medical treatment. For those at high risk for serious complications from the H1N1 flu and who are still waiting to be vaccinated, early treatment with antiviral medications is the best way to avoid severe illness from the flu.
The H1N1 vaccine will provide the best protection from the H1N1 flu. Four public vaccination clinics for those at high risk and those who care for high risk individuals are now scheduled on November 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Those at high risk for complications can attend these clinics, and those groups are:
The Saturday locations are:
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
334 Tully Road
San Jose, CA 95111
Valley Health Center Gilroy
7475 Camino Arroyo
Gilroy, CA 95128
Valley Health Center Moorpark
2400 Moorpark Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128
Valley Health Center Sunnyvale
660 S. Fair Oaks Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
If a person who is at high risk and hasn’t yet been able to get the vaccine gets sick with the H1N1 flu, antiviral medications can help stop the virus before severe illness occurs. Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly, so at the first sign of illness, those at high risk should contact their healthcare provider.
H1N1 flu symptoms typically include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and extreme tiredness. Many people who have been infected with the H1N1 virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.
Flu antiviral medications are prescription drugs (pills, liquid, or inhaler) that decrease the ability of flu viruses to reproduce. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antiviral medications should be started within two days after becoming sick. When used this way, these medications can reduce the severity of flu symptoms and prevent serious flu complications.
While the vaccine is the best way to avoid getting sick with the flu, you can also reduce your chances of getting sick by washing your hands frequently and using hand sanitizers; keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth; staying away from sick people; and regularly cleaning surfaces around your home and work area.
The H1N1 virus is spread when droplets are coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person and someone nearby breathes them in. The virus can also spread when a person touches a surface like a door handle or table top where these droplets have landed and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.
For more information about the H1N1 flu and vaccination clinics offered by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, visit www.sccphd.org.