Applications accepted for volunteers to help with vaccines
H1N1: Remain calm, stay informed

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

Almost on a daily basis, information regarding the Type A/H1N1 flu virus bombards us via newspapers, television, or the Internet often causing fear and confusion for those who want to ensure their family stays healthy during the coming flu season.

With recent cases of Type A flu viruses infecting local students as well as the deaths of two individuals in a nearby community attributed to the H1N1 virus, it is important to remain calm and to stay informed at the local level, according to Pat Thomas, Ripley County Health Department.

“The Ripley County Health Department is in contact with the Indiana State Department of Health on a daily basis,” said Thomas. “When things change, and they do, we try to pass that information along.”

Although a severe flu pandemic can kill many people, disrupt daily activities such as work and school, Thomas says that the H1N1 flu has not been severe in most people in the U.S. “But, flu viruses can become more severe over time,” said Thomas, “That is why officials are taking steps to help limit or slow the spread of the virus.”

The Ripley County Health Department is working with multiple agencies throughout the county, especially the schools. “We commend them (the schools) for their pro-activeness,” said Thomas. Although there are indicators that influenza A/H1N1 is active in the county, there have not been any reports of anyone being hospitalized nor have the schools reported abnormal rates of absenteeism, according to Thomas.

The best measures to prevent the spread of the flu virus include washing your hands for at least 20 seconds getting between fingers, under nails, and the tops of hands; cover coughs and sneezes; and follow travel safety alerts at Thomas urges those who are sick to stay home.

Those most at risk for complications from the H1N1 flu are persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years of age; those who live with or care for children younger than six months of age; pregnant women; those between 25 and 64 years of age with a chronic health disorder or compromised immune system; and health care and emergency medical services personnel.

Thomas expects to have a vaccine available for the H1N1 virus in late October, hoping to have enough to vaccinate everyone. According to Thomas, the season flu vaccine will protect against the seasonal flu which will help keep one healthy.

The health department is accepting applications for volunteers, especially health professionals that are able to give vaccines, said Thomas. For applications, email the Ripley County Health Dept. at or call 812-689-5751. For more information on services provided by the local health department or for updates on the H1N1 virus in Ripley County, visit


It's all about hand washing and South Ripley teachers are making sure students learn right off the bat as this kindergarten group washes their hands. "Lather up your hands," long time teacher Mrs. Wilson advised the students. She said they love the new soap dispensers and the way the soap makes great suds! Health officials say washing hands is paramount to keeping the virus from spreading and local schools aren't taking any chances. They are monitoring the hand washing procedures to make sure every little hand gets washed.