Flu season is fast upon us and this year we are faced with the prospect of two flus and possibly two flu vaccines. We are hearing lots about the H1N1 flu and the concerns about how this flu may manifest in the fall. Let’s not forget that the regular yearly seasonal flu is also on the horizon and needs to be prepared for as well.
How do these flus affect people with liver disease and should people with liver disease get vaccinated? Seasonal flu is common and can cause significant illness. On average, 36,000 Americans die each year from the seasonal flu. The seasonal flu vaccine is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions, such as liver disease. Currently, it is recommended that all people with liver disease get the yearly seasonal flu vaccine in order to lessen the likelihood of catching the seasonal flu. Yearly flu vaccination should begin in September or as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January, and beyond. This is because the timing and duration of influenza seasons vary. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later. People with allergies to eggs or those who have a febrile illness should not take the seasonal flu vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine does not protect against the H1N1 flu.
Nothing happens in a vacuum.
What I mean by that is this: Most every event or development that unfolds in society is somehow, someway connected.
Take, for instance, the recent news about an initiative Suffolk County law enforcement officials launched to try to rein in the alarming increase in heroin use among Long Island youth. The anti-heroin initiative, part of the county’s Police Department’s PoliceSmart program, includes visits to Suffolk schools. Among other things, it features graphic images depicting the real lives of heroin users.
High school rugby is alive and well on Long Island. The LIU19 Colts rugby club is a community-based club open to all students from ninth to 12th grade. Middle school students are welcome to come and learn the skills of the game but we cannot promise playing time as we do not schedule teams in their age bracket at the present time. High school rugby in the U.S. is strictly a spring sport. The Colts winter practice starts after Thanksgiving when the football season ends and consists of one two-hour session on Saturday or Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. depending on weather conditions. Once the season gets under way in March we go to a Tuesday and Thursday 5 p.m. practice at Glen Cove. The Colts play a 10-game schedule and field an A and B side each week. Everyone gets a full game every game day during the season. The Colts draw players from schools in Nassau County, Eastern Queens and Western Suffolk.
Almost a year ago, Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorean immigrant, was murdered allegedly by a group of high school boys on a hate-crime spree. Shortly after the murder I was invited to participate as one of six panelists in an online forum sponsored by Newsday.
The panel addressed a number of themes - exposure to prejudice, bigotry and discrimination, the role of the schools and bridging communication gaps. The final theme of the forum was “confronting authority.” This was presented by the editors as follows: “…there are growing suspicions that government institutions have played a major role in perpetuating racial tensions. New allegations that have surfaced since Lucero’s death suggest that inadequate attention has been given to patterns of hate-driven violence. Add to that the intensifying trend in law enforcement toward criminalizing and cracking down on illegal immigration. How do community members deal with racism and hate crime when law enforcement and other authorities are seen as complicit in the oppression and violence?”
I was reading recently how Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss is now devoting himself to promoting the education of “civics” in our schools in order to give our children real-world knowledge and, hopefully, wisdom about how to run our government. I never realized that Mr. Dreyfuss and I had so much in common and I enthusiastically join his call to bring back civic education.
(On the morning of September 1, the entire faculty and staff of the school district gathered for the traditional back-to-school convocation at Roslyn High School. The following is from my address to them.)
Recently some of you may have seen an article that was circulating on an education list serve that was entitled, “Sum up Your Leadership in Six Words.” The article began with an anecdote that said that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story using only six words. Many thought it wasn’t possible. Hemingway instead produced the following:
I’m like many people in our county who pours over nutrition labels on all the food I buy. I want to know exactly what it is I’m eating, and more importantly, how many calories I’m consuming. As the American Heart Association will tell you, calories “in” should equal calories “out” if you want to maintain your current weight. Our diet should be equivalent to our physical activity. But if we don’t know what we’re eating, how are we to know how many laps to walk around the neighborhood?
Like most municipalities across the country, we have had to tighten our belts in the face of the lingering economic decline. Nonetheless, we remain committed to providing fun activities, events and amusement such as our fireworks extravaganza and summer-long presentation of free concerts.
On Wednesday, Sept. 9, I will be joined by the Nassau County 9/11 Memorial Committee, along with victims’ families and friends, at a sunset ceremony to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001. The ceremony will take place at the September 11th Memorial in Eisenhower Park.
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