Weekly Health news

Posted Oct. 25, 2011, at 4:34 p.m.

Flu vaccine available

Flu season is on its way. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccine as the first and best way to protect against influenza.

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine annually, even if they were vaccinated last year, CDC officials said. Flu vaccine is available now and Maine CDC encourages Mainers to get vaccinated.

Every year, up to 20 percent of U.S. residents will get the flu. On average, more than 200,000 will be hospitalized for influenza-related complications. People at high risk for developing flu-related complications include children younger than 5; adults 65 of age and older; pregnant women; American Indians; Alaskan natives; people who have underlying medical conditions including asthma, heart

disease and weakened immune systems; and those who are morbidly obese.

“The flu is still a serious illness in the United States,” said Dr. Sheila Pinette, director of Maine CDC. “There were 115 influenza-associated pediatric deaths in the United States last season, including one in Maine. Mainers should do all they can to protect themselves and their loved ones against this illness.”

Flu vaccine is widely available in the state. There are two ways to get a flu vaccine: either by shot or through a nasal spray, and both are equally effective. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for immune protection to begin. Many Maine public schools are offering vaccine again this year.

To find the nearest flu shot clinic, contact your school or your provider, or dial 2-1-1 for local flu clinics. Local pharmacies also have the vaccine; many are open and offer the vaccine seven days a week.

Signs of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat , runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.

“Anyone with these symptoms should follow the No Flu 4 You guidelines,” Dr. Pinette said. “This includes hand washing, good respiratory etiquette including covering your cough, staying home while ill and getting vaccinated.”

For questions regarding the vaccine, contact the Maine Immunization Program at 287-3746, 800-867-4775 or immuneme@maine.gov.

For information regarding the disease, or to report cases or an outbreak contact the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program at 800-821-5821 or disease.reporting@maine.gov.

EMHS official honored

BREWER — Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems has announced that Amy Cotton, nurse practitioner and director of Operations and Senior Service Quality for EMHS Continuum of Care, was one of 12 national mentors selected for Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing’s 2010-2011 Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy.

Amy LeClair, of Kindred Healthcare, was selected to work with Cotton during the past 18 months on the development of a project that cultivates her leadership skills and knowledge of geriatric nursing. During this extensive mentorship, LeClair developed an assisted living culture change model that enhances older adults’ wellness through person-centered care, activities, spiritual renewal and exercise.

“It has been a wonderful experience to mentor Amy LeClair. She is passionate about improving health-care delivery for older adults,” Cotton said. “With an increasingly aging society, it is essential we have nurse leaders who are positioned to address the health-care needs of older adults.”

On Oct. 29, LeClair and Cotton will present LeClair’s project during Sigma Theta Tau’s International Honor Society of Nursing’s biennial meeting in Grapevine, Texas.

The Bare Truth

BANGOR — The Bare Truth Project will hold its premier gala 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Sweetest Thing, 48 Columbia St.

The Bare Truth Project is the work of photographers Tammy Michaels, Tricia Kenny and Theresa Cucinotti. Breast cancer survivors were photographed to reveal “The Reality Behind the Pink Ribbon.”

Survivors’ photographs will be displayed for viewing for the first time at the gala. Refreshments will be provided by Ann Marie’s Kitchen. The event is a benefit for the Champion the Cure Challenge.

For tickets or information, visit http://thebaretruth.org.

Jacob’s Ride

HERMON — Jacob Tozer’s family got a good deal this summer on a van to help them transport the 13-year-old, who uses a wheelchair because he has leukodystrophy, which affects the way his brain communicates with his muscles.

It costs thousands of dollars to adapt a vehicle for use by someone with disabilities. That’s where Jacob’s Ride comes in.

Jacob’s Ride is a community effort that will sponsor a spaghetti supper, plus a silent auction and live auction, 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at Hermon High School.

Tickets are $5, $20 for a family. Donated items are being accepted for the auctions.

Items to be auctioned include an HP TouchPad 9.7, eight tickets to see the Portland Sea Dogs, a three-month gym membership, homemade quilts, a painting by a local artist, gift certificates from area businesses, Pampered Chef items, Bangor Daily News subscriptions and a framed Tom Hennessey print of a moose, “Swamp Sentinel.”

Donations may be made to Jacob’s Ride, at Camden National Bank, Route 2, Hermon 04401; or sent to Jacob’s Ride, 53 Pineview Ave., Glenburn 04401. Donors also my contribute at facebook.com/JacobTozersRide. All contributions will help with this important project to benefit Jacob, who attends Hermon Middle School.

For information, call 848-5110.

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