This Week's Developments:
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced the deaths of a 53-year-old Essex County resident, a 20-year-old Norfolk County resident and a 21-year-old Hampden County resident all related to H1N1. All 3 residents had underlying health conditions that placed them at greater risk of complications from the flu. This brings the total number of deaths related to H1N1 in Massachusetts to 10.
These deaths are a tragic reminder of how serious flu can be for some people. Each year, seasonal influenza causes 250,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths nationally. Certain groups of people are at higher risk of complications from the flu. These groups include: children under the age of 2, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease. These people should call their doctor immediately to discuss appropriate treatment if they develop a fever with a cough, sore throat or runny nose.
Simple Precautions to Help Stop the Spread of Flu Include:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your cough with a tissue or cough into your inner elbow and not into your hands.
- If you are sick stay home from work and if your child is sick keep them home for 7 days, or 24 hours after your symptoms go away—whichever is longer.
- Stay informed about the latest developments on the H1N1 flu, by visiting www.mass.gov/dph.
Also this week a board of CDC advisors made recommendations on the use of H1N1 vaccine when it is developed and deemed safe for use. The CDC held a media briefing during which they discussed the recommendations. You can listen to the briefing by clicking the player below.