Mary Scott, R.N., B.S.N., was the guest speaker at the Spring River Area Chamber of Commerce's monthly meeting Sept. 15 at Words and Afterwords in Hardy.
Scott has been the Sharp County Health Unit's clinic coordinator since 1985. She has a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Robert Wesleyan College in Rochester, N.Y., where she graduated in 1971. Scott moved to Arkansas in 1985 and married Bob Scott. She has four step-children, nine grandchildren and four great- grandchildren.
Scott addressed the large crowd at the luncheon about the rampant H1N1 influenza vaccine that has taken the lives of five Arkansans.
Scott said the health department is being proactive in helping in the prevention of the flu. She said they began planning back in the spring working with the education cooperatives. Since the virus tends to attack much younger children than other flu strains, she said the health department will be giving immunizations at area schools. Scott said permission slips must be filled out by parents.
The H1N1 virus first appeared in April, and tends to attack young children and those under the age of 21. Scott said those over 64 tend to have more of an immunity to the virus. She said this may be because a similar virus appeared in the 1970s.
Those who are recommended to take the immunization are child care givers, children, teenagers and anyone who is under the age of 54. She said no one will be refused the vaccinations, but this is the age group most likely to be afflicted with the virus.
Scott said the health department is planning a vaccination clinic Oct. 29 at the Highland First Assembly of God Church. She said this will not be the same type as last year because two vaccinations may be required, the regular flu shot and the H1N1 inoculation, which is due to be released by the Food and Drug Administration later in the month. She said the cost is free, but if one is insured she asks that they bring their insurance card so the department can file the insurance. She said later, the vaccinations will cost $20. Scott also asked for volunteers to help with filling out paper- work during the clinic. In order to reduce the chance of getting the virus, Scott said to remember the "Three C's"--- Clean, Cover and Contain.
She said to clean surfaces with one part bleach to 100 parts water. A hand sanitizer with at least 70 percent alcohol is recommended. She said there are also wipes available. Cleaning doorknobs is also a good practice, as well as not touching areas that might be highly contaminated or frequently touched. Covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing is also very important. Those who are sick should contain the virus by staying home.
Scott told the audience there are a lot of allergies this time of year, so if one does become ill, it may not be the flu, just allergies or a cold.
She said some of the symptoms of the H1N1 virus include chills, body aches and fever. Treatment includes plenty of fluids, rest and no aspirin for children, much the same as any other flu virus.
Her presentation was not to scare the public, but rather to make them aware of their surroundings while offering tips on ways to prevent or contain the virus if one does contract it.
Beth McEntire-Bess hosted the meeting in the absence of President Charlotte Goodwin, who was attending training in Fayetteville.
McEntire told the members the Chamber was currently working on obtaining a good map comparable to the one the Chamber currently hands out. They are also working on the 2009 banquet.
Greg Bess also addressed the group with an update on the Sharp County Economic Development Council. He said the group has created a Naturally Ozark brand that may be applied to any items that are created in the Ozarks. Bess said the Naturally Ozark logo has been revealed, as well as some products and a Web site that is nearly complete.
The next meeting of the Spring River Chamber of Commerce is set for Oct.20 at noon. The location and guest speaker will be announced at a later date.