Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
December, 2014
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This Month's Articles

Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

(More) Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

County Benefits from “JBLM Day of Service”

It’s official!

Health Systems Doing a Good Job of Tracking Illnesses

Families Welcome New Members

Perfection is Reality for County Waste Water Treatment Plant

Less Leftovers, More Joy

The Klondike Kings and the telegraph to nowhere

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 What’s the Hype About H1N1 Influenza?

More on the Swine Flu outbreak.

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a familiar winter season illness that affects a lot of people. Most people get over the dreaded flu with aches and pains and a couple of days off work. For some, the flu can be deadly or cause secondary complications, like pneumonia. The people hardest hit by seasonal influenza are folks with chronic medical conditions, the elderly and very young children.

In April of 2009 we started seeing a new flu strain, 2009 H1N1 influenza (also known as Swine flu or Pandemic flu). Since this flu is new to people under age 50, everyone without immunity can become sick when exposed. About a third of us born before 1957 seem to have some immunity to this flu.

What we know about this 2009 H1N1 virus is that it is predominantly affecting people under the age of 50. Among the most severely ill are pregnant women, persons with chronic lung disease, asthma, persons who are very obese, and children with neuromuscular problems. There have been a few reported deaths in young children but most of the deaths are in the 30 - 50 age group.

The severity of this flu is not worse than seasonal flu. Only about 0.5% (half a percent) of all those who have flu-like illness are hospitalized. The difference is that there are way more people getting this flu because it is new. Bottom line is that more people are being hospitalized and more people could die from the flu this year.

We can protect ourselves. Covering your cough, washing your hands, keeping hands and fingers away from your eyes and nose, staying home when you are ill - these are all very effective, sensible things to do to protect yourself and others. Vaccination against the flu is an added measure that folks can take if they do not want to get the flu. Flu vaccinations are available both for seasonal flu as well as H1N1 flu.

Because of increased demand this year, it may be hard to find seasonal flu shots now. The H1N1 vaccine is arriving in small amounts every week. Information about who is eligible for vaccine and where they are available is on our Website. It will take a few months before we have enough H1N1 vaccine to vaccinate anyone who wants it. These vaccines are voluntary.

Even without vaccination, you can protect yourself by staying away from crowds, keeping your distance (3 - 6 feet) from people who are coughing and sneezing, and by staying home when you are ill. Washing your hands helps to keep infections away. Stay healthy.

Thurston County Health Officer Diana T. Yu, MD, MSPH

By Dr. Diana Yu

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