High-Risk Flu Individuals Encouraged To Call Doctor

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Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil, MD, said today that individuals who have high risk medical conditions and develop influenza symptoms should call their healthcare provider promptly. Dr. Vigil’s recommendation follows the New Mexico Department of Health’s confirmation of the second death caused by H1N1 influenza.

The 52-year-old female from Bernalillo County had a pulmonary condition that put her at risk for developing complications from influenza. She died over the weekend. The first H1N1-influenza death was a 45-year-old female from Sierra County who also had a high-risk condition.

“We extend our sympathy to her family and friends,” Dr. Vigil said. “Everyone needs to take steps to protect themselves and their families from the spread of influenza this fall. That includes covering your cough and sneeze with your arm, staying home when you have a fever, cough and sore throat and getting vaccinated when vaccine becomes available.”

The Department is carefully monitoring H1N1 disease in New Mexico and will inform the public of new developments with the spread of disease, availability of vaccine and health officials’ recommendations.

“We encourage adults to stay home from work when they are sick with influenza symptoms and parents to keep their children out of school if they are sick,” Dr. Vigil said. “People should stay home until 24 hours after their fever breaks without using a fever-reducing medicine.”

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The Department of Health is planning vaccination clinics for H1N1 influenza when vaccine becomes available. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects to begin shipping vaccine as early as mid-October. This year, people need to get vaccinated against H1N1 flu and seasonal flu.

The Department will focus vaccination efforts first on people who are the most likely to develop complications from H1N1 flu or spread the disease to vulnerable individuals. They are:

* Pregnant women

* People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months old

* Children and young adults age 6 months through 24 years

* Healthcare workers and emergency medical services personnel

* People age 25 through 64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza.

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