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Beltrami County: Community Health Group update H1N1 news

The Beltrami County Community Health Group announced that vaccine is being released in batches and is not in large enough amounts to cover everyone yet. Therefore, priority groups are a necessity. More vaccinations should be available in January and February of 2010.

The focus now is on assuring that pregnant women, young children, school-aged children, young adults up to age 24 and adults ages 25-64, with chronic health conditions in our community will be taken care of. Chronic health conditions include conditions that interfere with breathing and the following chronic diseases: lung disease, cardiovascular disease (except high blood pressure), kidney disease, liver diseases, metabolic conditions or conditions involving the blood or blood forming organs to include diabetes, suppressed immune systems due to medical treatment or infection.

The flu season is not over yet so be aware of and heed the following:

- H1N1 symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees or more with sore throat and cough; may also include runny nose, body aches, headaches, chills, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting and diarrhea are not typical symptoms of seasonal flu.

- Stay home if you are sick; cover your nose and mouth; wash your hands frequently; get vaccinated against the flu (both kinds when vaccine is available).

- Beware of sharing glasses, water bottles, beverage cans, smoking materials and cosmetic products

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth when in public gatherings

- Face masks are not recommended as protection for healthy folks. People with flu symptoms should consider wearing masks to protect others.

- Remember that every effort is being made to assure that our citizens are being offered vaccinations when product is available.

The Minnesota FLU LINE, staffed by nurses who can prescribe medications if needed is at 866-259-4655. Call with any questions on any aspect of the flu. Do not call the local clinics or hospital with questions on when vaccinations are available. They are busy with patients. Use the free hotline to find answers to questions about symptoms or other information needed. Find a Flu Shot is also available at or