Health
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Division of Public Health offers the following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to individuals considering seeking flu vaccination. Individuals who are not included in one of the priority groups described below should be asked to forego or defer vaccination. No cases of influenza have been identified in Delaware during the 2004-2005 flu season, which generally begins in October. The following priority groups for vaccination with inactivated influenza vaccine this season are considered to be of equal importance:
  • All children aged 6–23 months
  • Adults aged 65 years and older
  • Persons aged 2 to 64 with underlying chronic medical conditions
  • All women who will be pregnant during the influenza season
  • Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities
  • Children aged 6 months to 18 on chronic aspirin therapy
  • Health-care workers involved in direct patient care
  • Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children aged under 6 months.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes the following recommendations:
  • Individuals in priority groups identified above should be encouraged to search locally for vaccine if their regular health-care provider does not have vaccine available.
  • Nasally administered influenza vaccine, if available, should be encouraged for healthy persons who are aged 5 to 49 years and are not pregnant, including health-care workers (except those who care for severely immunocompromised patients in special care units) and people caring for children under 6 months.
  • Certain children under 9 require two doses of vaccine if they have not previously been vaccinated. All children at high risk for complications from influenza, including those aged 6 to 23 months, who present for vaccination, should be vaccinated with a first or second dose, depending on vaccination status. However, doses should not be held in reserve to ensure that two doses will be available. Instead, available vaccine should be used to vaccinate people in priority groups on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Physicians providing flu shots through the Vaccines For Children program should proceed as usual. The state Division of Public Health has 3,400 doses of flu vaccine in stock for Vaccines For Children, a federal program that provides free vaccinations for children under 18 who are uninsured, underinsured, eligible for Medicaid or are American Indian or Alaska Native. These vaccine units cannot be diverted to other individuals. The state Division of Public Health continues to work with the Medical Society of Delaware, the Delaware Healthcare Association and the Delaware Flu Coalition to evaluate supplies. The state Division of Public Health recommends residents take the following steps to prevent viral illnesses and relieve symptoms should they occur:
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands frequently and carefully with soap and water, especially after coughing and sneezing. Be sure to clean under fingernails.
  • Supervise children when washing hands to assure that they use soap and water thoroughly.
  • Stay home if you are sick, to avoid spreading illness to others.
  • Consult your physician if you are ill and ask about additional interventions such as anti-viral medications.
  • Go to www.findaflushot.com to locate clinics available in Delaware. There is a charge for these shots.
Additional information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/flu or through the CDC public response hotline, telephone 888-246-2675 (English), 888-246-2857 (Español), or 866-874-2646 (TTY).
  Classes teach diabetics how to eat, cook
The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension in Sussex County is offering a series of classes for people with diabetes and their family members or caretakers titled “Dining With Diabetes.” This program is designed to help diabetics increase their knowledge and understanding of managing their eating to control blood sugar. The series includes diabetes education, recipe demonstrations and tasting of healthy foods. Mary Wilcoxon, Sussex County extension educator, reported that previous participants have stated that the classes “helped me to learn more how to fix foods. It was very helpful to learn about using sugar substitutes in cakes, pies, etc. and to learn about carbohydrates, fats, etc.” The classes will be Thursday, Oct. 21, 28 and Nov. 11, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the University of Delaware Research & Education center, U.S. 9, Georgetown. There is a $5 charge per person to enroll. Deadline for registration is Oct. 15. Send a $5 check made out to the University of Delaware and registration information to Mary A. Wilcoxon, Research & Education Center, 16684 County seat Highway, Georgetown, DE 19947. For more information or to register, call Wilcoxon, 856-7303.

Diabetes expo is set for Nov. 17 in Dover
The third annual Delaware Diabetes Wellness Expo will be Nov. 17, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Sheraton Dover Hotel in Dover. The free event, organized by Delaware’s Division of Public Health’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, Delaware’s Division of Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities, and the Delaware Diabetes Coalition will bring together healthcare facilities, businesses, diabetes-related organizations, and communities to promote self-management and a healthier lifestyle for people with diabetes. More than 50 exhibitors will be on hand. Breakout sessions will include topics on eye- and foot-care, self-management tips, physical activity, heart disease, Medicare coverage, financial resources, insulin, carbohydrate counting and healthy eating. The expo is free and lunch will cost $5. To register or become a vendor, call (302) 741-2900. The registration deadline is Nov. 12. This event is made possible through the sponsorship and community commitment by Bayhealth, Beebe Medical, Comcast, and Quality Insights of Delaware.