A grassroots "Fight the Flu" campaign was officially launched in Barry County this week. The effort represents a partnershipof public agencies across Missouri and is being spearheaded locally by the Barry County Health Department.
The campaign announcement comes just days after the health department publicized the availability of the seasonal flu vaccine and a week after the Cassville R-IV School District reported it had two confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus among its student body.
"This grassroots campaign developed by local public health agencies across Missouri encourages residents to work together to help protect our families and our communities against all types of flu, including H1N1," said King.
"We need each member of our community to join in this effort to fight the flu," added King. "We know seasonal flu is coming. We expect to see H1N1 continue to circulate as well, and we must work together to slow the spread of flu in our community."
Toward this end, community members are urged to follow the tips listed below to protect their families, themselves and their community.
Protect your family
* Get your family vaccinated against seasonal flu,
* Establish healthy practices of hand washing and not sharing personal items,
* Stockpile enough food, water and medication to last at least seven days in case you need to voluntarily isolate or quarantine yourself and your family,
* Make arrangements for childcare if schools close, and
* Talk to your employer about flexible work options.
* Get a seasonal flu shot,
* Wash your hands,
* Keep a distance of at least six feet from people who are sick, and
* Choose a healthy lifestyle to build your immune system that includes adequate sleep, a reduction in stress, smoking cessation, physical activity, drinking plenty of water and choosing nutritious foods.
Protect our communities
* Stay home if you are sick,
* Keep kids home when they are sick (for at least 24 hours after their fever goes away without the use of medication),
* Cover your sneeze and cough with a disposable tissue or the crook of your arm,
* Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and
* Don't share personal items like drinks, silverware or toothbrushes.
More information can be found on the campaign's website, which can be accessed at www.figththefluMO.com.
The seasonal flu vaccine is offered at the Monett and Cassville health department offices on a walk-in basis during regular business hours. The cost of the shot is $15.
"This vaccine is not the new H1N1 vaccine," said King. "This vaccine is the regular seasonal flu vaccine and is available to anyone who wishes immunization."
The Cassville office, located at 65 Main St., is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Monett office, located on Highway 37, is open from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information, contact the Barry County Health Department office in Cassville at 417-847-2114 or in Monett at 417-354-8686.