An adolescent male from Henry County died Wednesday, Dec. 9, as a result of complications from H1N1 influenza.
Ann Goon, Henry County health commissioner, said the victim tested positive for the H1N1 virus.
While she did not give details of the boy’s death, she said the most common cause of H1N1-related death is for the victim to develop pneumonia.
Pneumonia is described as an inflammatory condition of the lungs. The lungs fill with fluid, preventing oxygen from reaching the bloodstream.
Goon said the boy’s death reminds parents that children are most affected by the H1N1 virus.
“There are opportunities to get the H1N1 vaccine.
“Even if the current wave of H1N1 has waned, it’s possible to have another wave.
“It’s a good idea to get vaccinated,” she said.
Goon said the Henry County Health Department “has more vaccine now than at any point to date. We’re getting it from other counties who don’t need it.
“We’re seeing a demand for the vaccine,” Goon said.
She said Henry County’s H1N1 clinic appointment slots are still being filled.
While it is relatively late in the cold and flu season, Goon said it is still worth getting vaccinated.
“We may have gotten through the big wave, but there could be other waves later,” she said.
After receiving the vaccination, it takes 10 days to two weeks for a person to be fully immunized.
In other words, the vaccine takes that long to reach full strength in the body.
Getting immunized now would give a person the best possible protection before children return to school in January, Goon said.
Even if a person has had what they believe to be the H1N1 flu, Goon said the federal Centers For Disease Control still recommend being vaccinated against H1N1 influenza.
Does the H1N1-related death in Henry County change Fulton County’s approach to H1N1?
“I think the most important thing is to vaccinate as many people as possible,” said Cindy Rose, Fulton County Health Department director of nursing.
Toward that end, there are two more H1N1 vaccine clinics before the end of the year.
One is today, Wednesday, from noon to 6 pm at the North Clinton Church in Wauseon. This is a walkin clinic. No appointment is necessary.
Another is Tuesday, Dec. 29, from 9 am to noon, and from 3 pm to 6 pm., at the Fulton County Health Department, 606 S. Shoop Ave., Wauseon. This clinic is by appointment. Rose said as of Monday, only 80 of 288 available slots were filled.
Plans are being made for vaccination clinics into January.
There are still a few pieces of advice health department officials are asking the public to follow.
•If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
•Avoid sick people if possible.
•Cover your mouth when you cough.
•Wash your hands frequently. If soap and water are not available, alcoholbased hand sanitizers are a good option.
“But the cornerstone to protection is to be vaccinated,” she said.–David Pugh