MESSAGE FROM CONGRESSMAN STENY H. HOYER
H1N1 – KEY INFORMATION FOR PREPARATION AND PREVENTION

Congressman Hoyer joins Maryland Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary John Colmers for an H1N1 flu briefing.
In addition to the standard measures we take every year to prepare for and prevent the spread of  seasonal influenza, we face a unique flu challenge this year with the H1N1 virus. Since the initial outbreak of H1N1, our nation’s public health officials have taken proactive steps to ensure the public was well-informed about the virus and its extent, and to make sure we would be prepared when our influenza season arrived.

Unlike seasonal flu, the H1N1 virus is more prevalent among those in the 24 and under age group. That is why many of the efforts for prevention are being targeted to students, and school systems are working to set up flu clinics and make sure parents are well-informed. Parents must be especially vigilant by keeping kids home when sick and giving consideration to the H1N1 vaccine. In addition to younger populations, those most vulnerable to the virus are pregnant women and individuals with neurological and respiratory conditions.

This week, I met with representatives of state and local health agencies for an update on plans for H1N1 preparation and prevention. In coordination with the state, counties have developed extensive plans to deal with the pandemic, including aggressive outreach and coordination to ensure targeted populations are prepared.
Please check with your county health departments for more information on local H1N1 information and vaccine availability.

Also this week, the first shipments of the H1N1 vaccine were delivered to our state. More shipments will follow in the weeks ahead, and Maryland expects to have approximately 900,000 doses by the end of the month.

Outside of the vaccine, the most important action you can take to protect you and your family is the same as with any flu virus: washing your hands frequently; covering your mouth when you cough; sneezing into a sleeve;and staying home from school or work if you get sick.

As this extraordinary flu season gets underway, it is important that we all take the recommended precautions to minimize the spread of both the seasonal and H1N1 viruses. For additional information, I encourage people to visit flu.gov or the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website.

As always, thank you for allowing me to share this update with you. If there is anything you wish to share with me or bring to my attention, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

With warmest regards, I am

Sincerely yours,

Steny H. Hoyer

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