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Alachua County School District Supervisor of Health Services Patricia Hughes remembers a time before intranasal flu vaccines, when so many students missed the FCAT because of the flu that the governor had to pardon the county exam scores.

Given the number of students and nurses out with the flu so far this year, she fears a repeat of that nightmare.

The FDA signed off on the development of an intranasal flu vaccine in 2003. In 2007, the CDC approved its use for the 2007 08 flu season. The incorporation of a needleless vaccine improved vaccination rates , lowering flu outbreaks and flu related deaths.

But in 2013 , a particularly potent strain of the H1N1 flu virus threw a wrench in that progress. FluMist, the brand name intranasal vaccine at the time, proved less effective against this strain (officially named H1N1pdm09) for three consecutive years, leading the CDC in 2016 to stop recommending its use. This meant that schools and other government entities could no longer give intranasal vaccinations.

In the years since, vaccination rates in Alachua County have plummeted, from around 70 percent in 2015 to as low as 30 percent today, according to Paul Myers, director of the Alachua County Health Department.

Myers, too, fears catastrophe, but unlike Hughes, he believes the data so far bodes well for Alachua County residents.

though we down to about 25 30 percent [vaccinated], we just don see the influenza activity in our community that we seeing in other North Central Florida and other Florida counties, he said.

Myers suggested that it may have something to do with Alachua County school vaccination program. Run every year since 2009, the program has earned national recognition for achieving high vaccination rates,
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and even after rates halved post mist, they stabilized at a rate higher than most North Central Florida counties.

The program aims to vaccinate children, who Myers deems spreaders for their understandably poor hygiene practices, to achieve what some call immunity resistance to the spread of disease resulting from sufficiently high rates of immunization within a population.

Marion County, by contrast, has no such program. Instead it contracts with a private company called Healthy Schools LLC.

Healthy Schools provides flu vaccination services free of charge to students and school districts, recouping costs through pre existing contracts it has with Medicaid and private insurance companies.

In week one of the 2018 flu season, however, Marion County has already seen an uptick in influenza activity, recording an average of 19 positive flu tests a day, compared to eight a day in December, according to Marion County Health Department representative Christy Jergens. The state health department as of Jan. 6 has already reported 1 2 flu outbreaks in the county, defined as a sudden increase in the occurrence of the infection.

They recorded no outbreaks for Alachua in the same time period.

Hughes, Alachua County school health services supervisor, sounded less buoyed by this data.

I don know, she said. the intranasal spray,] this year could be the year where it really bad. Hughes and Myers agree: the need to get vaccinated.

is the only illness for which there is a vaccine that circles the globe annually, sickens millions and millions of people, kills hundreds and hundreds of thousands worldwide for which we have a vaccine, Myers said.
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Kids are home on school break and Deputy Fire Chief Christopher Norris wants parents to know, the only safe ice, is the ice in your local skating rink.

Around this time of the year, people who enjoy recreational activities on the ice, are starting to venture out. But according to MassWildlife, there are no guarantees when it comes to knowing if the ice is safe enough.

Before venturing out onto the ice, make sure someone knows where you going. Bring your fully charged cell phone with you encase of an emergency and wear your life jacket, just encase you fall into a water.”That ice is expanding and contracting everyday,” said Chief Norris. “That creates those weak spots, throughout different bodies of water as well, which again, goes to our point that we really can declare any ice, safe ice.”

Extreme cold means high risk for hypothermia

And if you fall in, don’t panic. Keep your body moving. You have between 15 and 30 minutes to get to safety, before hypothermia sets in.

“Otherwise your body temperature starts to drop and you don shiver anymore,” Dr. Conway of AEIOU Urgent Care told 22News. “You begin to get confused and subsequently, if you can get out of the water, you going to end up drowning.”

Before venturing out on the ice, make sure it at least 4 inches thick for ice fishing and 5 inches for snowmobiles or off road vehicles.
timberland ladies boots sale Below freezing temperatures could create unknown outdoor dangers