WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama encouraged all Americans Tuesday to take "common-sense" steps in preparation for an expected resurgence in the H1N1 virus this fall.
Among other things, he said, people should wash their hands frequently and stay home from work if they are ill.
"I know it sounds simple, but it's important and it works" he said at the White House.
"I don't want anybody to be alarmed. But I do want (people) to be prepared."
The president said hospitals need to prepare for an unusually large influx of patients. While the federal government is doing everything possible to prepare for a new H1N1 outbreak, there will likely be "issues coming up over the next several months," he said. The way the virus is "moving is still unpredictable."
Obama noted that there has been "steady progress" in the development of an H1N1 vaccine, which is expected to be ready by mid-October. Vaccinations will be voluntary, he noted, but "strongly recommended."
Obama made his remarks after receiving a briefing on preparedness for H1N1, also known as swine flu, from several senior administration officials.
The president met with Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, and Health, and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, among others.