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Get shot for seasonal flu - health officials

Seasonal influenza vaccinations are available through medical providers or local pharmacies.

The Clallam County Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting a season influenza vaccination as soon as possible and that everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine should get it every year.

Those who are at a high-er risk of complications with seasonal flu include people 65 and older, children younger than 5 years old, pregnant women and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.

H1N1 influenza vaccinations are expected to be available in mid-October.

Those who are eligible to receive the H1N1 flu vaccine should get vaccinated when it's available in the coming months, the department also recommends.

People who have a higher risk of complications with H1N1 will have priority for vaccinations, including pregnant women, everyone from age 6 months to 24 years of age, caregivers and household contacts for children younger than

6 months of age, those from 25-64 years of age with health conditions that put them at higher risk of complications from the flu, and health care and emergency medical services workers.

Other steps that can protect health include:

_ Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue in the trash after using it.

_ Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after a cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective.

_ Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth as germs spread this way.

_ Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Don't share glasses or eating utensils.

_ Stay home from work or school if sick.

_ Stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

Contact Clallam County Health and Human Services at 417-2274, www.flu.gov, www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu, or www.doh.wa.gov/h1n1.

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