One year ago, in early January 2010, the Douglas County Public Health office was abuzz withÂ activity around H1N1.Â You couldn’t make it through the day, orÂ hardly anÂ hour, without someone uttering the word.Â Â During the height of the outbreak in the fall of 2009, the typical staff membersÂ ”to do”Â list was compounded with additional duties; conduct community and school vaccination clinics, respond toÂ phone calls and emails from concerned community members and communicate with the Minnesota DepartmentÂ of Health and otherÂ health agencies about current trends and plans for action, just toÂ name a few.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
As I lookÂ around the office today I seeÂ another world.Â No mention of H1N1, no one talking aboutÂ nasal mist, no television crewÂ at the doorstep waiting for anÂ influenza interview.Â So,Â where has H1N1 gone?Â Do you really want to know?Â Â The answer: It’s still here.
H1N1 has notÂ ridden off into the sunset entirelyÂ but rather declined in prevelance as moreÂ people have become immune to the H1N1 strain.Â Immunity occuredÂ byÂ the individual becomingÂ sick or by being vaccinated through injection or nasal mist.Â In time, H1N1 became just a regular old strain of flu virus.Â In fact, it’s already being treated as such.Â The H1N1 strain is included in this years seasonal inflenza vaccine along with two others.
While it seems likeÂ the danger has passed,Â there is a big lesson to be learned from H1N1 so let’s not get complacent.Â Â Be Prepared!Â BeÂ prepared for emergency situations of all types, not just disease outbreaks.Â The more prepared you are, the safer you and your family become.Â
To help you get prepared, the Minnesota Departments of Health and Public Safety have teamed up to create an easy to use website called CodeReady.Â The site walks you through the stepsÂ for getting prepared for allÂ types of hazards that strike Douglas County including weather emergencies, disease outbreaks and fire.Â Don’t just sit back and respond, be prepared.