West End News Dec.11, 2009

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The shots for the H1N1 flu virus are still available at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marais. So far the number of folks showing up for the H1N1 shots has been underwhelming. It is impossible to even guess why our friends and neighbors are not choosing to get the shots. There is no charge for the shots, and you don't need an appointment when the clinic is giving the immunizations.

I would guess that the publicity which encourages people to believe that for most of us the H1N1 is not much worse than a bad cold may be true; but people do die from this virus. Tragically, many of the deaths are young folks. It seems like the incidence of the H1N1 is a lot like the waves in the ocean. There is a surge, and then the waves retreat. There is a high tide and then a low tide. Worldwide this has been the experience with this virus. We could still get hit hard by it.

This H1N1 is serious. I believe our young people need protection. If you are a member of one of the target groups listed by the Department of Health, please protect yourself and others you contact by getting vaccinated. The clinic number is 387-2330.

When I was a school psychologist in the public schools I noticed that a week or so after a major school holiday there was an increase in the number of children and teachers out of school, sick with what is now called "seasonal flu.” This uptick was caused by the fact that during the holiday the school population associated with a lot of different people, distant family members came to visit, people attended holiday celebrations with large crowds, and so forth. The children and staff carried the flu virus back to school when it resumed and about a week later there were lots of sick people.

On a more cheerful note, the community-minded Grand Marais State Bank has set up a challenge gift to the Birch Grove Foundation. I feel this is a great opportunity. More information is available from Jessa at the Foundation office, 663-7977.

Be careful, the traps are in place. Please keep your pets on leash when you go for walks with them. The traps have bait in them, which is attractive to your pet. Each year pets are killed by traps set near paths and roads. These trap placements are legal, so be careful. That is the best solution.

Please remember to tell me about outstanding holiday displays in the West End. I will list them in next week's column and broadcast.
 

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