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Be cautious, despite less flu

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data that shows the H1N1 flu, commonly known as swine flu, was widespread in only 14 states last week, down from 25 states the week before and 48 in late October.

Unfortunately, Alabama was among the 14 states in which the CDC reporting widespread influenza activity. Alabama and Virginia are the only Southern states in which broad activity is still being reported.

It is good news for the U.S. that the strain of flu the CDC estimates claimed 10,000 lives here between April and November of 2009 appears to be waning. What remains to be seen is how the disease will spread in the winter, when the seasonal winter flu is generally more rampant. CDC officials say winter flu is just starting to show up in the United States.

As families prepare to socialize more as part of the holiday season and cold weather moves us indoors, it is important that we remain mindful of the possible threats posed by swine and seasonal flus. Remind children to wash their hands often and keep hand sanitizer near.

Taking proper precautions can help us keep the H1N1 flu on the wane.