Panama City- A well-informed public is the key to preventing a widespread H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic; that's the message that came out of a public forum organized by the Bay County Health Department Wednesday night. Seven experts with knowledge in medicine and disaster preparedness took part.
The panel could not overemphasize the importance of washing your hands with soap and water, using hand sanitizer, and coughing into your elbow to prevent the spread of H1N1. But above all, the doctor and experts on the panel stressed the importance of getting both flu vaccines, one for the regular seasonal flu, which is available now, and one for the H1N1 Swine Flu which will be available in October.
The Bay County Health Department feels so strongly that children get vaccinated against H1N1, that they will be administering the vaccine in the schools. "We'll send out information to the parents so they can review it and sign a permission slip. They will have all the information about the shot. We will then be able to administer the shot at the school. We'll have people who screen the children to make sure it's safe for them to receive the shot, then we will have nurses and people there who can give the shots" explained Bay County Health Department Interim Director Dr. Dennis Cookro.
There has been an uptick in the number of H1N1 Swine Flu cases in Bay County. The representative from Gulf Coast Medical Center said that in July they saw just 5 cases of the H1N1 flu, this month they have already seen 62 cases. The average age of those patients is 12 year old, hence the importance of vaccinations at our schools.