SACRAMENTO - The H1N1 "swine" flu strain has made a comeback this season, report health officials.

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), many counties and other states are treating critically-ill patients with the H1N1 strain. This particular strain causes more illness in children and young adults compared to usually more vulnerable older adults.

In 2009, H1N1 flu infected 17,855 and caused 45 deaths, according to the national Centers for Disease Control.

CDPH Director Dr. Ron Chapman says this year's flu vaccine protects against H1N1, among other flu strains, and it's not too late to get inoculated. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to fully protect.

"A yearly flu vaccine is the most important step in preventing influenza," Chapman said in a news release.

This linkprovides information on where consumers can find flu vaccine providers.

It's also important to stop the spread of flu germs by:

  • Staying home when you are sick
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes
  • Washing your hands with soap/water
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth