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Kaiser Permanente Reminds Community to Remain Vigilant with H1N1 Flu Vaccine Still Available to all Members in Hawaii

With Hawaii flu season typically lasting through spring "high-risk" members are encouraged to get free vaccination

Honolulu, HI
Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii continues to schedule appointments for the H1N1 flu vaccine. All members are encouraged to get vaccinated, particularly those considered to be "high risk."

"Flu season can be a long one here in Hawaii, often lasting well into spring, so we want to remind the community to remain vigilant," said Dr. Philip Bruno, infectious disease specialist with Kaiser Permanente. "It’s not too late to protect yourself against H1N1. We especially want to encourage our members who may be at higher risk to get vaccinated, if they haven’t already."

High-risk individuals are:
• pregnant women,
• persons who live with or provide care for infants aged less than 6 months (e.g., parents, siblings, and daycare providers),
• healthcare and emergency medical services personnel,
• persons ages 6 months to 24 years of age, and
• persons ages 25--64 years who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications. This includes those with diabetes, asthma, emphysema or other lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, cognitive disorders, neurologic/neuromuscular disorders, blood disorders, or immune system problems.

In addition to getting vaccinated, simple and effective ways to help avoid colds, seasonal flu and H1N1 flu include:
• Hand washing is the most important thing you can do to keep from getting and spreading colds and the flu. Using just plain soap and water is as effective as using antibacterial products. Carry an alcohol-based hand gel to use when you can’t wash.
• Cover your cough. Cold and flu viruses are spread by airborne particles. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your upper sleeve instead of your hand, so that you don’t make others sick. If you do use your hands, wash them as soon as you can.
• Avoid touching your face. Cold and flu viruses are often spread by touching something or someone that is contaminated with germs then rubbing your eyes or nose, or touching your mouth.

Children under the age of 10 who received their first H1N1 flu vaccination in school will need a second one to make sure they are immune.

Kaiser Permanente members should call their clinic to make an appointment.

For more information about H1N1 flu, please visit kp.org.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii has provided total health to the people of Hawaii for more than 50 years. Care for members is focused on their total health guided by our personal physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert care and medical teams are supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Its physicians are members of the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, the largest and most experienced multi-specialty physician group practice in the state of Hawaii. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. Visit kp.org for additional information.