H1N1 – Are you still out there? Hiding under the bathroom rug perhaps?

One year ago, in early January 2010, the Douglas County Public Health office was abuzz with activity around H1N1.  You couldn’t make it through the day, or hardly an hour, without someone uttering the word.  During the height of the outbreak in the fall of 2009, the typical staff members ”to do” list was compounded with additional duties; conduct community and school vaccination clinics, respond to phone calls and emails from concerned community members and communicate with the Minnesota Department of Health and other health agencies about current trends and plans for action, just to name a few.             

As I look around the office today I see another world.  No mention of H1N1, no one talking about nasal mist, no television crew at the doorstep waiting for an influenza interview.  So, where has H1N1 gone?  Do you really want to know?  The answer: It’s still here.

H1N1 has not ridden off into the sunset entirely but rather declined in prevelance as more people have become immune to the H1N1 strain.  Immunity occured by the individual becoming sick or by being vaccinated through injection or nasal mist.  In time, H1N1 became just a regular old strain of flu virus.  In fact, it’s already being treated as such.  The H1N1 strain is included in this years seasonal inflenza vaccine along with two others.

While it seems like the danger has passed, there is a big lesson to be learned from H1N1 so let’s not get complacent.  Be Prepared!  Be prepared for emergency situations of all types, not just disease outbreaks.  The more prepared you are, the safer you and your family become. 

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.  The site walks you through the steps for getting prepared for all types of hazards that strike Douglas County including weather emergencies, disease outbreaks and fire.  Don’t just sit back and respond, be prepared.

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