Public health officials warn of swine flu in schools this fall

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Public health officials today warned that the coming flu season may be worse than last year’s. How much worse will depend on the precautionary steps people take around kids.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding is the head of the L.A. County health department.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding: "School age children are a primary way that viruses are spread. We have a pandemic, it’s not going to stop.

"We’ve had flu all summer, which is unusual. We expect that there will be an increase as schools open and there’s a lot of children interacting and happy to see each other and in close quarters."

Dr. Fielding says kids who develop flu-like symptoms should stay home and away from other people. They should be taught to cover their nose and mouth when they sneeze and to frequently use hand sanitizer.

Fielding adds that H1N1, or swine flu, is a concern, but not more than other flu strains that are just as severe. Two dozen people in L.A. County have died in the last six months from H1N1.