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Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic Ice Skater, Pushes Seasonal Flu Shots
Date:8/28/2009

She reminds public there's more than swine flu circulating out there

FRIDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Olympic gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi is teaming up with U.S. health experts to deliver a simple and important message as flu season approaches: With all the hype around the H1N1 swine flu, don't forget to get a shot against the seasonal flu.

This year, like every year, Yamaguchi will be lining up for her seasonal flu vaccine as soon as it's available.

So will her two small children, her husband and the children's grandparents.

"As a mom of two children 5 and under, I want to protect my kids. One simple way to do that is to vaccinate myself and everyone around my kids," says Yamaguchi, who has been getting regular flu vaccines for the past 20 years and is a national spokeswoman for the American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza campaign.

This year, two different flu viruses -- the seasonal flu and the H1N1 swine flu -- are competing for attention, making it all the more important that Americans not forget the importance of getting inoculated against the regular, garden-variety flu.

"We are likely to have two flu seasons, which may occur at the same time and peak at the same time, or they may not," said Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. "The important thing to remember is that the seasonal flu remains a very important and dangerous illness."

Between 10 percent and 20 percent of the U.S. population comes down with flu every year; more than 200,000 are hospitalized and more than 30,000 die from it, Edelman said.

But from what experts know so far, the regular flu shot will not protect you from getting the swine flu.

"Lab tests suggest that the bugs are pretty different," Edelman said. "We're recommending that people get vaccinated with the seasonal flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available. Get that out of
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Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic Ice Skater, Pushes Seasonal Flu Shots
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