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August 24, 2010

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] Family Living Focus Catch oral cancer early Oral cancer can affect the mouth and the back of the throat. Chances of sur- vival drop once the cancer spreads to other parts of the body. That's why it's so important to find oral cancer early, when it can be treated more success- fully. Most cases of oral cancer are linked to cigarette smoking, chewing tobacco use. heavy alcohol use or a combination of them. The disease usually occurs after age 40. African-American men are at especially high risk. On average, about 60 percent of peo- ple with oral cancer survive more than five years. Only about 36 percent of African-American men with the disease survive that long. An oral cancer exam is painless and takes only a few minutes. Your doctor or dentist will check your face, neck. lips. entire mouth and the back of your throat for signs of cancer. Ask your doctor about getting an oral cancer exam. It's quick, it's pain- less, and it could save your life. Signs of Oral Cancer See your doctor or dentist if these changes to your mouth last for more than two weeks: A thick patch or sore in your mouth. lip or throat A white or red patch in your mouth Trouble chewing or swallowing A feeling that something is caught in your throat Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue Numbness in your mouth or tongue Swelling of the jaw that makes your dentures uncomfortable Pain in one ear without hearing loss If you would like more information on "Catch Oral Cancer Early" feel free to contact Gall Gilman-Waldner. Pro- gram Development and Coordination - Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, Inc. and Professor Emeritus - University of Minnesota at 507-389- 8869 or e-mail Gall at Additional re- sources are available by contacting the Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800-333- 2433 or visiting the MinnesotaHelp.Info website at www.MinnesotaHelp.Info. Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus information in next week's paper. MN health officials confirm flu death State health officials are bracing for what they say could be a difficult year for the elderly in coping with in- fluenza. A woman in her 80s from south- eastern Minnesota died last week from complications due to influenza. The Minnesota Department of Health Pub- lic Health Laboratory has confirmed that she had the A/H3 strain of in- fluenza virus, a strain which has caused sporadic outbreaks in long-term care facilities in Minnesota and other states over the summer and early fall. Earlier this month, another woman in her 80s, from the metropolitan area. died more than a month after contract- ing the A/H3 strain of the influenza virus. Both women had been residents of long-term care facilities. "This may be a difficult year in terms of severe influenza infections in the elderly," said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist with MDH. "'In years when there has been primarily H3 influenza A circulating, we've seen higher rates of serious illness, particu- larly in the elderly." Lynfield said i't is extremely impor- tant for those who care for, live with or frequently visit the elderly to be vacci- nated for influenza as a measure to pro- tect the elderly. That concern was shared by Kristen Ehresmann. director of the infectious disease division at MDH. "While Min- nesotans over 65 have among the high- est rates of influenza vaccination in the nation, and we do recommend vacci- nation for the elderly, it is important to remember that they may not respond as readily as younger individuals to the vaccine." she said, "So we need to pro- tect them by making sure that all those around them are vaccinated, just as we protect babies less than six months by vaccinating those around them." In addition. Lynfield said, "All health care workers in Minnesota should be vaccinated for influenza." This includes health care workers in clinics, hospitals and long-term care fa- cilities. Health care workers and others should stay home and limit contacts with others when they have symptoms of influenza. A recent survey indicated that overall about 70 percent of Min- nesota's health care workers get vacci- nated for influenza. "But we can and we must do better." Ehresmann said. Health officials said that they have not yet seen increased influenza activ- ity among the general population. It is not unusual to see sporadic cases and outbreaks among those in institutional settings in early fall. A cluster of A/H3 cases was reported last month in a long-term care facility in Minnesota. Clusters were also reported in a day care and a college in Iowa in July. Each year. the strains of influenza virus circulating around the world change just enough that the influenza vaccine needs to change. Influenza vaccines always contain three strums of antigens that provide protection against the three strains most likely to be circulating. This year's vaccine con- tains the 2009 A/H1NI strain, an A/H3N2 strain and a B strain. Health officials do not yet know whether the A/H3 viruses that circulated in the two long-term care facilities match the vac- cine A/H3N2 type. Ehresmann said this most recent in- fluenza case serves as a reminder to all Minnesotans that vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others against influenza - and now is a good time to get vaccinated. "There are ade- quate supplies of vaccine this year," she said. Influenza vaccination is now rec- ommended for everyone six months and older unless they cannot be vacci- nated for medical reasons. It is espe- cially important that those at high risk for serious complications from in- fluenza be vaccinated. These include pregnant women, seniors, young chil- dren and those with chronic medical conditions. Children under six months of age cannot receive flu vaccine, so house- hold contacts and caretakers should be vaccinated to protect the very young. Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. CDC estimates of an- nual flu-associated deaths in the U.S. between 1976 and 2006 range from a low of about 3.000 to a high of about 49.000 people. Each year. according to CDC estimates, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized due to in- fluenza. The symptoms of influenza, which tend to come on suddenlv, can include a sore throat, coughing, fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. People who become severely ill with influenza-like symptoms should see a physician. Influenza is caused by a wrus and antibiotics are not effective against it. During flu season, it is important for everyone, shots or not, to do his or her part to avoid spreading influenza by following these guidelines: Do your best to stay healthy. Get r r / Rear A/C Stow & Go & More! Retail $17,97. = Sedan ,/0007 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab 4x4 Retail .?,hrome Wheels Sunroof 107 JEEPS 1,000 Miles ,'06 Ford F150 Super Crew FX4 - Sunroof - Low Miles '07 SXT Rear A/C - 3 Seats 16,000 Miles L|flcoifl Mark LT Crew Leather- DVD Chrome Wheels Low Miles plenty of rest. physical activity and healthy eating. Stay home from school or work if you have a respiratory infection. Avoid exposing yourself to others who are sick with flu-like illness. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue whenever you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue away. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Clean surfaces you touch fre- quently, such as doorknobs, water faucets, refrigerator handles and tele- phones. Wash your hands often with soap and water or with an alcohol based, waterless hand sanitizer. TWO SETS OF FIVE GENERATIONS from the Gustafson family of the Ortonville area gathered recently to celebrate the baptism of Addison Koval. Left to right are, in top photo: Cynthia Gustafson holding Addison Koval and Holly Koval in back are Dave Schoon and Ethel Schoon. In bottom photo are, in front, Cynthia Gustafson and Morgan Exferd. In back are Amanda Exferd, Dave Schoon and Ethel Schoon. rce,cs.cov 1"888"6900892 .._,areeosour .... e   "'aovs. .......................... WINTER IS ON FIN WAY ............ * Still Just $179 ,, Page 8 00INDEPENDENT Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010