Wednesday, September 9, 2009


As the school year sets in motion, a major concern of many students and parents is the infectious H1N1 influenza better known as, “swine flu”.

H1N1 influenza is a respiratory (lung) infection. It causes a fever, cough, and/or a sore throat that can last a week or more. Those at higher risk are people aged six months to eighteen, seniors, pregnant women, and people with asthma, diabetes or other conditions affecting the heart, lungs, blood, liver or kidneys.

As a way to keep schools open and prevent the contraction or spread of the seasonal flu and the H1N1 influenza, Mayor Bloomberg, City Officials, and the NYC Department of Health will be offering free vaccinations to all elementary school students. The vaccine for seasonal influenza is now being distributed and federal health officials predict that the separate vaccine to protect against the novel H1N1 virus will be available by mid-to-late October at NYC Department of Health Immunization clinics, some community health centers, and at designated Health and Hospitals Corporation flu centers. The NYC Department of Health is also developing alternate and convenient vaccination sites around the city. Those not at risk is discouraged to get vaccination.

Some ways to protect yourself and others against the H1N1 influenza is to make sure to cover your cough with the inside of your elbow, wash your hands often, don’t get too close to people who are sick, and if you feel sick (fever of 100 degrees or higher plus a cough or sore throat) stay home or seek medical treatment.

For up-to-date information about seasonal flu, H1N1, and where to get a free or low-cost flu vaccine, you can visit the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at, or the NYC Department of Health's website here.

You can read more about what the NYC Department of Education is doing to keep H1N1 out of schools here.

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