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H1N1 still an issue

SELMA — The regular flu season is about to begin and along with that could come another wave of H1N1, also known as the swine flu.

There’s no need to suffer either. Flu shots are available at the Dallas County Health Department, 100 Samuel O Moseley Drive, said Stacy Adams, spokesperson for the department.

“Folks are still coming in,” she said.

The swine flu vaccine clinic is open from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the health department. The vaccinations are open to anyone, now, she said.

Earlier in the year, the swine flu shots were limited to a certain category of individuals, including young children and pregnant women.

Adams estimated the health department in Dallas County had given about 1,200 doses by injection of the vaccine. The estimate does not include vaccine provided to area physicians by the health department.

In January, the health department will hold a school-based clinic for students 10 years old and up. The school will send home an information package, which will include a consent form for parents to sign and allow their children to have the vaccination.

The health department will announce the dates, times and sites of the clinic later, Adams said.

Although some have taken the vaccine, it appears other might be wary of the vaccination, said Dr. Monica Newton, a family practice physician in Selma.

“We haven’t seen a whole lot of interest in the flu shot,” she said.

UAB Selma Family Medicine Center has seen its share of swine flu cases, most of them with mild symptoms, she said.

But swine flu is unpredictable. Those, such as the elderly, who would seemingly have severe symptoms sometimes, show up with light ones, and young adults sometimes have more acute symptoms, Newton said.

Many health providers in the area expect another “burst” of swine flu and the general flu from now through the beginning of February, which is the typical flu season for the area.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s report for the week of Christmas shows Alabama as one of seven states continuing to report widespread flu activity. Almost all cases are identified as the swine flu. The other states are California, Delaware, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey and Virginia.

The CDC also reports visits to physicians for swine flu symptoms have declined nationally.