NEWARK – The Licking County Health Department announced that the first Licking County resident has died as a result of the H1N1 virus. The Ohio Department of Health conducted laboratory testing which confirmed that the individual had the virus.
“It is with great sadness that the health department announces the first death associated with the H1N1 virus in Licking County.” said Joe Ebel, Licking County Health Commissioner.
To protect residents against the H1N1 virus, the health department has begun its vaccination effort. To date, approximately 3,000 doses of vaccine have been dispensed. Clinics are continuing for high risk groups, including children 6 months to 5 years old, children and young adults age 6 through 24 with an underlying health condition, pregnant women, healthcare workers with direct patient contact, EMS workers, and caregivers of children less than 6 months old. Additional shipments are expected and more risk groups will be added.
To protect yourself and reduce the spread of H1N1 and other flu strains, the health department recommends that you:
• Get your seasonal flu vaccination. While this does not protect you from pandemic H1N1, it will keep you healthy and fight off seasonal flu.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and then throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze or use the restroom and before eating. If you are not near soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth as germs often spread this way.
• Stay away from people who are sick.
• If you get sick, stay home from work or school.
• Get the H1N1 flu vaccination when it becomes available to you.
For more information about the H1N1 virus and to view updated clinic schedules visit www. lickingcohealth.org.