Archive for Thursday, September 24, 2009

Community groups come together for flu clinic

September 24, 2009

A seasonal flu clinic Sept. 16 at Eudora Elementary School served as a practice run for H1N1 flu clinics that likely will take place later this fall.

Lawrence-Douglas Health Department officials credited Eudora School District nurses Danielle Young and Amanda Unruh for being proactive in bring the clinic to Eudora Elementary School and involving other community organizations.

“That’s a lot of extra work that they didn’t have to take on and they just set this up,” said Kathy Colson, a registered nurse with LDHD. “The more people we have ready to help, the better it is for us.”

Lisa Horn, communications coordinator for LDHD, said the health department started meeting in the spring with various partners to discuss future H1N1 clinics.

Young and Unruh proposed bringing the clinics to EES, but because they hadn’t participated in larger-scale clinics, a seasonal clinic would help them figure out the logistics — staffing, parking, location and time of day — that would make the H1N1 clinic successful.

Skilled nursing facility Medicalodges, Eudora also had four staffers helping out at the clinic and plan to help with the H1N1 clinic, which likely will take place in mid-October.

“I think it was a pretty rewarding experience for everyone, and it was great to be able to volunteer and be able to partner with such great organizations,” Young said.

The clinic, which served about 225 people, also provided a learning opportunity for Eudora High School students in Andrea Pyle’s health careers class.

Students in the introductory class handed out literature and helped with frightened children.

EHS sophomore Lacey Gabriel said she hasn’t made a final decision on whether she wanted to pursue a career in health sciences, but that her experience with the clinic had positive.

“Since I might go into a health career, seeing how the nurses interact with the people and especially the kids, it’s interesting,” Gabriel said.

Pyle said the clinic was all the more valuable because the students don’t often get to be so close to the action.

“They only go on a couple of field trips each year, so this hands-on experience in helping the community and seeing different areas in which they can work is great,” Pyle said.

Horn said the department was pleased with the turnout of not just people getting shots, but also volunteers throughout the community.

“At the health department, we don’t have enough nurses and clerks to assists with vaccinating the whole population,” she said. “So, in order to get everyone vaccinated for H1N1 soon and effectively we’ve got to have the help of the community, and having local school nurses step up was great.”

H1N1 vaccines won’t be available until mid-October and will be free to those in the priority groups, which include 6- to 24-year-old students; adults who have chronic health conditions; pregnant women; and health and emergency workers.

Those who are not in the priority groups can consult their physician to find out if the vaccine is available to purchase.

For more information on seasonal and H1N1 flu, got to www.ldchealth.org.

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