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Thank you, Floyd Memorial

Thank you, Floyd Memorial
Thank you, Floyd Memorial
Sherrill Blackman of Elizabeth receives a flu shot Monday afternoon from Marilyn Sauerheber, a nurse with the Harrison County Health Dept. The county obtained 200 vaccines last week from Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services Pharmacy in New Albany. 'I was lucky to get as many as I did,' Sauerheber said. (Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor)

The Harrison County Health Dept. today has a limited amount of flu vaccine to be administered on a first-come, first-served basis to persons in a high-risk category.
The vaccine was made available by the Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services Pharmacy in New Albany so the health department here could immunize at least some of the Harrison Countians who need it most.
They include persons 65 and older, children six months to 23 months, persons with medical problems such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, organ transplant patients, women in their second or third trimester of pregnancy, healthy persons (such as health-care workers) who might transmit the flu to at-risk people and people who live in a chronic-care facility, according to information from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report provided by Dr. Sharon T. Laufer of Corydon.
The Harrison County Board of Commissioners was summoned Friday by Auditor Pat Wolfe for an emergency meeting to OK payment for the vaccine without waiting for the purchase to be advertised first, as is usually required.
‘The health department has the ability to purchase the flu vaccine from Floyd County; the health department has funding in place, but they need the commissioners to authorize the purchase,’ said Commission Chair J.R. Eckart Friday afternoon.
Eckart was hastily summoned from lunch at a Corydon restaurant, and Commissioner James Goldman abandoned his soybean field to go to the courthouse. They approved the payment in short order.
‘The big issue is, it’s available to people at risk,’ Goldman said. ‘That changes the whole gambit.’
‘I thank you for the health department and I thank you for the community at large for coming in and taking the time to do this,’ Wolfe told the two commissioners. ‘This is a national issue, and for us to be able to get our hands on 200 shots ‘ that’s a drop in the bucket to what we need ‘ but it’s more than we had before.’
The nation’s supply of influenza vaccine was cut in half this year when the Chiron Corp., one of just two manufacturers of the vaccine in the world, had its license temporarily suspended because its vaccine was contaminated.
Harrison County Health Dept. Nurse Marilyn Sauerheber said a revolving fund used by the health department to purchase adult vaccines was used to buy the flu vaccine, which cost about $1,600. The fund will be replinished with payments for the vaccinations.
The shots will cost $10 each and will be given by appointment at the health department after 3:30 p.m., when enough hospital employees end their shifts to make parking spaces available. The health department is located at the north end of the hospital complex off Atwood Street in Corydon.
To schedule an appointment, call 738-3237.
Influenza results in about 36,000 deaths and about 114,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States.
Dr. Laufer said steps can be taken to lessen the severity of the flu, even though the vaccine is not available.
But having the flu is not like having ‘the sniffles,’ Laufer said.
Flu symptoms include a high fever (102 to 104 degrees), severe headache, general aches and pains, fatigue, weakness, extreme exhaustion, chest discomfort and a cough that can become severe. Sometimes a stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat accompany the flu.
Medical treatment can help. Laufer said the antiviral drug Tamiflu can be taken after exposure to the flu, even before the onset of symptoms if a person knows they have been exposed. Amantadine or Rimantadine can be taken 24 to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms.
Coughing, sneezing and unclean hands can spread the flu virus. Persons should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or handkerchief when coughing or sneezing, but if a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into a sleeve or the crook of your arm instead. Used tissues should be discarded immediately; hands should be washed with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
Complications from the flu, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, can be life-threatening. Last year, about 1,000 Hoosiers died as the result of influenza.