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Hospital giving employees flu shots

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The 24th annual health fair is set for Oct. 24 at Los Alamos High School

By Carol A. Clark

Los Alamos Medical Center is inoculating its employees against the seasonal flu, which officially begins Oct. 1.

“We are cooperating with all entities including Los Alamos County, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the New Mexico Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control regarding seasonal and H1N1 issues,” LAMC spokesperson Wendy Hoffman said. “We will sponsor a public seasonal flu shot vaccine clinic at the Los Alamos Heart Council Health Fair.”

The Los Alamos Heart Council’s 24th Annual Health Fair is set for 8 a.m. to Noon Oct. 24 in Griffith Gymnasium at Los Alamos High School.

Organizers expect to administer nearly 1,000 seasonal flu shots so be prepared for a line, but the wait is usually not long, especially after 10 a.m., according to the Heart Council’s Web site.

The Heart Council, a United Way Agency, was formed August 1984 to promote heart-health and wellness in Los Alamos and Northern New Mexico.

Its mission is to develop, implement and support community-wide programs focusing on the prevention of heart disease by encouraging heart-healthy lifestyles through wellness awareness, health, fitness and nutrition education and community partnerships.

H1N1 vaccinations will not be available at the October Health Fair.

“Data and guidelines on H1N1 change daily, and we continue to monitor all alerts from the Department of Health,” Hoffman said.

LAMC urges all staff and residents of the community to follow recommended flu prevention and management techniques.

Frequent hand washing or sanitizing, observing cough etiquette and staying home from work or school when experiencing influenza-like symptoms have been shown to be the most effective way of preventing the spread of any kind of flu, she said.

“LAMC is issuing surgical masks to patients in the hospital who have coughs,” Hoffman said. “People experiencing trouble breathing or severe vomiting should see a medical professional or go to LAMC’s Emergency Department.”

Anyone with questions about the current flu season should consult his or her primary care provider, she said, adding that LAMC is directing all inquiries regarding individual H1N1 cases to the New Mexico Epidemiology hotline at 827-0006.

For more information on the Flu, access www.nmhealth.org, www.flu.gov or www.cdc.gov/flu. 

For additional advice 24/7, contact the New Mexico Nurse Advice Line at 1-877-725-2552.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or (505) 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her newsblog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.