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

the way and then, when the federal government finally develops guidelines and availability for the H1N1 vaccine, you can go and get that. We think that's the most intelligent way to go about it and the best way to protect yourself against both flu strains."

And at this point, Edelman sees no reason why people should not receive both shots. The seasonal flu shot is not recommended for people who have severe allergies to chicken eggs, children under 6 months of age, people who have a fever and those who have had bad reactions to the shot in previous years.

But that still leaves about 80 percent of the country eligible for the shot, Edelman said.

Precautions for preventing getting infected are essentially the same for both flu types.

"It's transmission, transmission, transmission," Edelman said.

That means washing your hands diligently, covering your nose when you sneeze or cough, or at least coughing into the crook of your arm or a tissue rather than into your hand.

"Use common sense if you're in a high-risk category," Edelman said. "If you're a frail 90-year-old, don't invite the grandkids over if they're sick. And, of course, it's getting vaccinated."

In fact, the elderly should be especially careful to get their regular flu shots this year. Although they seem to have some protection for the swine flu, they're still very vulnerable to the seasonal flu.

"With swine flu, it's more important than ever to educate people and know some of the facts," said Yamaguchi. "With 30,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations from the seasonal flu, those numbers are certainly higher than what we've seen of the swine flu. Protecting yourself from both viruses is very important."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on seasonal flu.



SOURCES: Kristi Ya
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