Health Plus: H1N1 101, Part 1 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: H1N1 101, Part 1

If you weren't concerned about the flu before, this year's H1N1 strain has probably got you thinking.

In Health Plus, the first of a 4-part look at this new flu on the scene and what it means for your family.

We're calling it H1N1 101.

At 68, Ron Weiss is actually not in a high-risk group for H1N1 complications.

Doctors say the new influenza strain is hitting younger people hardest.

Adding that this season, the flu *is* H1N1.

"This year the flu is the H1N1 and we've started seeing much earlier cases. So predominant strains are the H1N1 this year."

Ron is getting the traditional flu shot and the H1N1 vaccine when it's available.

 "I don't really like the idea of getting sick and passing it on to someone else when it can be prevented," says Ron.

At Covenant Clinic in Waterloo, patients are being advised to do the same.

Doctors say our bodies have not been exposed to H1N1 before so the vaccine is even more critical.

"When you have the seasonal influenza you do have some element of immunity because the virus is similar to but not identical to previous influenza viruses. When you have a pandemic so there is an emergence of a completely new virus to which nobody has immunity," says Dr. Stadia Ali.

Doctors say the seasonal flu and H1N1 have the same symptoms: cough, sore throat, fever and body aches, for example.

And they're both respiratory diseases.

That's the facts.

Now for some myths.

Myth 1: H1N1 vaccine is not safe and is untested.

Experts say the new vaccine is produced exactly the same way as the seasonal flu vaccine with simply a new virus strain.

Myth 2: The government is making h1n1 vaccine mandatory.

It's voluntary but health officials recommend it, especially for pregnant women and young children.

Myth 3: It costs too much to get H1N1 vaccine.

The federal government is providing the vaccine to states free of charge.

Public vaccination clinics should offer it for free to you.

Ron thinks getting vaccinated is the responsible thing to do.

"If everybody that can get one would get one it will cut it down a lot."

Tara Thomas

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