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OYS: H1N1 Vaccines still recommended for many people

News 12 at 6 O'Clock, May 4, 2010

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- At Hillcrest Baptist School, Principal David Smith says his school made the grade. Just one student has ever failed a test in his eight years there.

And the students have passed another test.

"Cleanliness is next to Godliness, as they say in the Bible," he said. "The classes are small, but it doesn't take much to spread the germs."

You'll find hand sanitizer on desks next to workbooks. It's not flu season, but the school is paying attention anyway.

"Kids' health can turn on a dime sometimes," adds Smith. "They could be playing, then they come in and they're running a fever or don't feel well."

63 of Richmond County's public parks and community centers also have an action plan in case the flu is found. The summer camp season begins June 1 -- when kids will be around each other a lot.

"The health advantages of combating obesity and the social advantages far outweigh the slight increased risk of infection by being in groups," said Doctors Hospital physician Dr. Mark Newton.

Newton had H1N1 during the Centers for Disease Control declared pandemic last fall. Because it occurred outside of seasonal flu season, he says the medical community's attitudes on treatment of flu have now changed.

"I think some of the old ways of thinking may be, people scurrying around about how to handle what's going to happen next."

Though there was an increase in flu cases in Georgia in February and March, there was no significant increase in the 13-county CSRA region. There have been no reported cases in a few weeks, said a Richmond County Public Health epidemiologist.

In South Carolina, the incidence of H1N1 flu is slightly higher than in Georgia but is not considered widespread. United States Region 4, which includes Georgia, South Carolina, and other southeastern states, has the highest incidence of flu at 5.1%.

Vaccines for the flu are still available even though it's not flu season. They are encouraged by the CDC for anyone over 6 months old.

The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will include both the seasonal flu and H1N1 flu vaccine.

To find out where you can get a vaccine, click on the Find It Button.


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