Back H1N1 – Weekly Stroller Hikes Newsletter (1)

H1N1

A close friend at Max’s daycare fell ill last week, and now it’s confirmed he has that nasty H1N1 virus. We’re nearly out of the woods for the predicted time period in which Max would show symptoms if he had caught the flu from his buddy, but the threat of illness still looms. Living in a place with so many people, with such different standards of hygiene and differing concepts of what it would take to miss work or school and stay home, this swine flu has been a grey cloud over our heads for several months now.

Data is coming in about how harmful swine flu is, but many people cling to the idea that the flu claims lives every year, and H1N1 is no different. This explains why my school and district haven’t publicly announced that there have been confirmed cases of H1N1 in the student population, which has irked a wide range of students, parents, and staff members. Fortunately, not everyone has been quiet – people in the health profession have been speaking up about this unusual flu strain being contagious in different ways and potentially posing more risk to healthy pregnant women.

County health agencies first acquire the H1N1 vaccines, then allocate them as local jurisdiction deems appropriate. In Oregon, my step sister’s whole family easily received their vaccines almost a month ago, and the county offered vaccines to all school teachers and health workers, hoping to keep their service workers healthy and reduce the spread of illness by these adults who interact with so many people. Contra Costa County was offering vaccinations at elementary schools a few weeks ago. Finally, after a month of waiting for similar options, Santa Clara County is getting their vaccines! (Not in Santa Clara County? Check your county website to see about clinics in your area too – November 7th is a big distribution day for this vaccine! At the release of this newsletter, Santa Cruz County, Contra Costa County, and San Mateo County had not arranged for any flu clinics.)

Santa Clara County is offering four flu clinics, beginning on November 7th in four locations: Santa Clara County Fairgrounds (San Jose), and Valley Health Centers in Gilroy, San Jose, and Sunnyvale from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM. There are clinics projected for November 15th and 21st too, but demand may exceed supply, so it is best to visit a clinic earlier in the month. These clinics are offering free H1N1 vaccinations to people in high-risk groups for infection including pregnant women, childcare providers for infants under 6 months old, children and young adults between 6 months and 24 years old, adults over 24 years old with medical conditions (like respiratory issues), and healthcare workers. Other people are asked not to attend; it is not clear if you will need to provide proof of being in one of the above categories to get a vaccine. For more information, see http://www.sccphd.org.

We recognize that getting the H1N1 vaccine may not guarantee protection from the virus, particularly if it mutates or you happen to be already sick with a virus when you are inoculated. Preservatives in vaccines have alone been an issue in the past few years, making some want to avoid them entirely. If you’re steering clear of the vaccine as well as the flu, keep up those good hygiene practices like washing hands and covering your cough. Also, please stay away from the public if you have a fever or have had one in the last 24 hours.

In the event that sickness comes your way, hopefully you can rest easy knowing that your exposure to the outdoor world and its diversity of germs has helped you develop a strong, active immunity. If you want more ways to get outside and explore nature with your little one, consider buying a framed backpack now! Wonderful Kristen has donated her two frame backpacks to Stroller Hikes; their sale will benefit Stroller Hikes, which is a 501-c-3 nonprofit. Both are for sale for screaming good deals (in commemoration of Halloween) – $35 and $15 or best offers. If you’re interested, see http://www.strollerhikes.com/Resale.html. Not up for hiking in the winter weather? These would make excellent holiday gifts for some springtime hikes to view wildflowers next year!

Here are this week’s events:

Every Monday at 10 am we’ll meet at John W Christian Greenbelt. Amy L. and little Adelina will lead a speed walk / jog along the lovely wide, paved greenbelt in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. Dogs allowed but be sure they can manage on a faster-paced walk/run. We’ll take a break around the halfway point for the trip, to play at the large playground for toddlers (which includes water features, so bring clothes if it’s warm out), along the greenbelt. Meet at the pedestrian bridge on Ahwanee Avenue and San Junipero Drive (the bridge is just NW of San Junipero Dr.). Here is a Mapquest Map of the Starting Location: http://www.mapquest.com/maps/Ahwanee+Ave+and+San+Junipero+Dr+Sunnyvale+CA/. For more information about the trail, see the John W Christian Greenbelt Webpage (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/GreenbeltSunnyvale/GreenbeltSunnyvale.html). Call Amy at 650-207-6556 if you’re running late.

Every Tuesday at 9 am Loren and little Angelo will lead a hike around Almaden Lake and down Los Alamitos Trail. Meet at the water dragon by the big playground near the bathrooms and swimming beach in the main parking lot near the intersection of Coleman Avenue and Almaden Expressway. No dogs allowed! Any baby transport or stroller will work. For more information about the area or directions, see The Los Alamitos Creek Trail Webpage (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/LosAlamitos/LosAlamitos.html). If you’re running late, call Loren at 831-227-6737.

Tuesday, November 3rd at 2 PM join Amy B. and her wee ones for a hike at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto. Meet at the Byxbee parking area. We’ll hike up and down the lovely crushed oyster shell paths around the artistic installments to Byxbee Park, then hike over to the Palo Alto Baylands Park, stopping to check out the birds around the duck pond as well as any artists trying to capture the interesting landscape. The trail works fine for all types of strollers. Dogs allowed! For more information about the parks and directions to Byxbee’s main parking lot, see Byxbee Page (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/Byxbee/Byxbee.html and Palo Alto Baylands Page (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/PABaylands/PABaylands.html). If you’re running late, call Amy at 408-368-7161.

Thursday, November 5th at 4:30 pm join Debbie and little Max for a Toddler Trek at Ulistac Natural Area and Guadalupe Levee in Santa Clara. The trail is suitable for a large-wheeled stroller or jogger, or a backpack or carrier (small-wheeled strollers will not work well), but we’ll encourage toddlers to walk. Dogs allowed! Meet in the parking lot of James Lick Park off of James Lick Road, which is across from the natural area. We may linger afterwards to play in the huge playground, or take a break at one of the playgrounds along the way. For more information or directions, see Ulistac and Guadalupe Page (http://www.strollerhikes.com/Hikes/Ulistac/Ulistac.html). Debbie’s cell number is – call 650-776-1082 if you’re running late.

Stay healthy!

-Debbie and little Max

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