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It's been another busy week of planning for the fall flu season, and the expected return of H1N1 (swine) flu in the state. On Tuesday, there was considerable media attention on a report put out by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The report indicated that H1N1 could, in a worst case scenario, cause as many as 90,000 deaths in the U.S. this flu season. A New York Times article, however, showed that there was considerable disagreement in some quarters as to whether that estimate may be overly pessimistic.

There's no way to tell what we'll see this fall, but we do know that there are simple, easy ways that we can protect ourselves from getting or spreading the flu, whether seasonal or H1N1 (swine).

Get vaccinated. Seasonal flu vaccine should be arriving in the state by mid-September, and initial shipments of H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine should get here starting in mid-October (with more supplies coming steadily after that).

Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Cough or sneeze into a tissue, or into your inner elbow if a tissue isn't handy.

If you're sick then please stay home from school or work.

Finally, stay informed as flu season gets underway. For instance, next week parents of school-age children will be receiving a packet of informational materials from their child's school on how to keep themselves and their families healthy during flu season, and what to do if their child gets sick. And of course, we'll continue to update this blog whenever new information becomes available — so check back often.

 

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health communication writer and editor

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