Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
June, 2014
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Have a Fun and Safe, Boating Season!

Please be Safe While Swimming or Rafting.

Sheriff’s Office Awards Ceremonies

How much money did you throw in your garbage can today?

Take a Tour on Thurston County’s Bountiful Byway

Trolleys a Big Hit! (‘til it rains)

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 Preparing for a Pandemic.

You can help protect yourself and your family.

Every day, public health departments act to protect members of our community from contagious diseases. In Thurston County, we have been working with partners for several years to prepare for an eventual disease pandemic (international disease outbreak). Meetings have taken place, relationships built, and plans written. We have experienced a number of disease outbreaks that tested our plans – SARS in 2003, West Nile Virus, H5N1 influenza in 2002.

Planning for a large disease outbreak became a reality this April with the arrival of H1N1 Swine flu. It quickly became evident that this outbreak was well on its way to becoming a pandemic. At the same time, there were a lot of unknowns: how severe the disease was going to be, whether medications were going to be effective, when to close schools and workplaces, and even who the highest risk groups were going to be.

In the last few months we have learned a lot more about pandemic H1N1 influenza (swine flu)-

  • The majority of cases are in people born after 1957.
  • Individuals with pre-existing chronic diseases such as heart and lung disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, immune compromised or who smoke, especially those under age 50, have higher risk of more severe disease and death.
  • Pregnant women and very young children also appear to be more at risk.
  • Most people experience moderate symptoms and recover fully. Home care, rest, fluids, cold and fever remedies work for symptom relief.
  • More severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, or mental status changes indicate the need to seek professional health care.
  • Influenza is spread from person to person. Coughing and sneezing releases thousands of droplets causing exposure to persons within 3 feet of those with symptoms.
  • Persons infected with influenza can be contagious from a day before symptoms show up until 7 days after they begin.
  • If you are diagnosed with influenza, you should stay home from work or school for at least 7 days. If you are still ill after 7 days, do not return to work or school until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever.
  • The best way of preventing complications is by preventing exposure to influenza. That means, covering your cough, washing your hands and staying home when you are ill – all of which help to prevent spread of disease.
  • Antiviral medications help to decrease symptoms by a day or two but do not prevent complications or cure the disease.


Remember, influenza symptoms are the same, whether it is seasonal flu, or swine flu. Those symptoms include: Sudden onset of fever over 101°F, severe body aches, and sore throat in majority of cases, lasting four or five days. Coughing and fatigue may last a week or two. Some individuals may also have headaches, vomiting and diarrhea.

A new vaccine against pandemic H1N1 influenza is being manufactured. This process takes months to complete and is very complex. The new vaccine should be available during the late fall of 2009 and will be targeted for those at highest risk of complications of the new H1N1 influenza.

As we learn more over the coming months, reliable and timely information about H1N1 influenza will be available from the health department. You can call our recorded public information line 360-709-3080. The message is updated regularly. Information is also available on our website Thurston County Public Health and Social Services

Health care providers receive fax and email alerts that include recommendations for action that can prevent or control the spread of disease. If you are a health care provider and want to receive these alerts, please contact Peggy Grenier by email at greniep@co.thurston.wa.us or by phone at 360-786-5277 and ask to be added to the list. Individuals interested in assisting in pandemic preparedness or response (all skills are welcome - you do not have to be a medical professional) should register with the Thurston County Medical Reserve Corps. For information see MRC To register, please email MRC@co.thurston.wa.us. Units are also active in most counties in Western Washington – if you are interested contact your local health departments.

By Dr. Diana T. Yu, MD, MSPH

. You may also want to attend the Emergency Preparedness Expo on Saturday, September 26th to receive a “regular” flu shot (NOT for H1N1 Swine flu). The shots are $30 and the minimum age for getting this flu shot is 12 years old. Most forms of insurance are accepted with no co-payment. The Expo has no admission charge and runs from 10 am to 3 pm at Saint Martin’s University, 5300 Pacific Avenue SE in Lacey. ( EXPO

By Dr. Diana Yu

Dr. Diana Yu is Thurston County's Health Officer. Dr. Diana Yu is Thurston County's Health Officer.