H1N1 hits young children hardest. Preparing for flu pandemic.

The “novel H1N1” flu has caused a spike in pediatric deaths across the country, said Melody Actouka, the community disaster educator for the NH West Chapter of the American Red Cross. According to the latest national reports provided the regional Red Cross chapter last Friday, the flu has already caused 540 pediatric deaths nationwide vs. 80 child deaths during a typical flu season.

More young children ages birth to 12 and 13, compared to other age groups, are experiencing H1N1 and their illness tends to be more severe. This is resulting in more hospitalizations and deaths especially for children with other health conditions and compromised immune systems, explained Actouka today in a phone interview from her office in Keene.

Regional chapters of the American Red Cross are actively monitoring seasonal and H1N1 flu reports and working with state and county agencies to provide public education. The NH West Chapter works in Sullivan, Cheshire and part of Hillsborough counties.

A three-hour seminar designed to provide schools, businesses and community organizations with information on how to best maintain business and keep staff healthy this flu season is coming up. It will be held on Wednesday, December 2 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Claremont Savings Bank in Claremont.

The program–Preparing Small Business Workplaces for Pandemic Flu–is being presented by the NH West Chapter of the Red Cross, in partnership with Claremont Savings Bank and the Greater Sullivan County Public Health Network. For more information or to register, contact Actouka, at (603) 352-3210 or by email at melody@arcnhwest.org.

Participants in the seminar will be given the last information about the pandemic flu including it impacts, recommended prevention measures and dates for vaccination clinics, as of that date, said Actouka, who pointed to the Greater Sullivan County Public Health Network as another source of information.

The Public Health Network is a collaborative of municipalities and health and human service agencies serving just over 30,000 people in the towns of Acworth, Charlestown, Claremont, Croydon, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster, New London, Newbury, Newport, Springfield, Sunapee, Sutton, Unity, and Wilmot. For more information, visit the Greater Sullivan County Public Health Network. They also provide vaccine clinic dates on their website, which will be updated as soon as supplies are known and specific clinic days scheduled.

Another on-line source for H1N1 informaiton is 2-1-1NH at: http://www.211nh.org/Content.aspx?h1n1flu

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