Public Health Updates

April is Organ Donation Month 

This April marks the 15th annual National Donate Life Month, a celebration commemorating those who have given the gift of life through organ and tissue donation. For those whose lives have been saved or healed by a transplant, National Donate Life Month provides a chance to share their story to encourage more people to register as donors.

 

In addition to organ donation, tissue donations help over one million individuals each year.  Heart valve, bone and skin donations give recipients a new chance at a healthy life, the recovery of tendons and ligaments can help heal a severe sports injury, and cornea donations give the gift of sight. 

 

Currently, 56 percent of the U.S. adult population are registered organ and tissue donors, yet the number of people in need of transplants continues to outpace the number of organs donated.  More than 119,000 people are waiting for a transplant and a second chance at life.  On average, 22 people die each day because the organ they need is not donated in time. That is almost one person dying every hour. Registering your decision to become a donor is the most effective way to save lives through donation and is a sign of support to those who continue to wait.

 

To register as a donor or for more information, please visit registerme.org

Flu Recommendations

US CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. While there are many different flu viruses, the seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the top three or four flu viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. Medical providers should be vaccinated and begin vaccinating patients soon after flu vaccine becomes available to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins.

Getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection against influenza throughout the flu season.

US CDC recommends use of the nasal spray vaccine in healthy children ages 2 to 8 when it is immediately available and if the child has no contraindications or precautions to that vaccine. Recent studies suggest that the nasal spray flu vaccine may work better than the flu shot in younger children. However, if the nasal spray vaccine is not immediately available and the flu shot is, children age 2 to 8 years should get the flu shot. Don't delay vaccination to find the nasal spray flu vaccine.

Visiting the Hospital

 

Amid a spike in illnesses, including the flu throughout the region, Franklin Memorial Hospital is asking anyone who feels sick or has a fever, sore throat, or cough to avoid visiting the hospital.

 

This is an important step to protect the hospital’s most vulnerable patients and newborns. Neither should have any unnecessary exposure to people with respiratory or other contagious illnesses. All hospital visitors must be feeling well and wash their hands before and after entering any unit.

 

For the safety of the babies on the Franklin Memorial Hospital Maternal and Child Health Unit, no children under the age of 12 are allowed on the unit this flu season, unless they are healthy siblings.

 

Influenza activity in Maine is widespread with laboratory confirmed influenza reported in all 16 counties. Maine’s Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL) has confirmed Influenza A/H1N1, influenza A/H3, and influenza B/Yamagata in Maine indicating most strains are circulating.

Preventive Practices

Stay home if you are sick, until you are fever-free for a full 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medicine.

Get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Follow heightened respiratory etiquette to protect yourself and others by covering coughs and sneezes, and wearing a mask when indicated and appropriate.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes as germs can spread that way.

Avoid close contact with sick people as much as possible. 

Flu Resources

Resources

Maine Public Call-in Number
Monday - Friday
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
1-888-257-0990
TTY 207-629-5751

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Maine.gov Website

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC.gov Website

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