Tuesday November 10, 2009




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1029 Public can now vote for top H1N1 videos [California]--After receiving more than 100 entries to CDPH’s “California Film Festival — Lights, Camera, Save Lives” contest, members of the public are now invited to go online and cast a vote for their favorite. 

A gold and silver award will be selected.  The gold winner will receive a $500 gift card provided by the non-profit California Immunization Coalition, and both the gold and silver winners will have their video aired on television.  Californians can vote for their favorite starting today through Thursday November 12 at

“We are thrilled to see so many creative video entries,” said CDPH’s director Dr. Mark Horton.  “These videos will help communicate the simple but important methods of flu prevention – wash your hands, cough into your sleeve, stay home when you’re sick, and get vaccinated when it’s available.

“As we work together to fight the spread of H1N1, these videos from talented Californians will help us spread the word, not the flu.”

Both amateur and professional California residents age 14 and older were invited to create a 15, 30 or 60 second video that will motivate people to take steps that will help prevent the spread of H1N1 and seasonal flu. 

Participants were required to include one of the four H1N1 flu prevention methods in their video: wash hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, stay home when sick, get vaccinated when available.  After the public vote, final winners will be identified by state officials for a special award presentation. 


1027 New campaign recruits citizens to be 'Flu Fighters' [Utah]--The Utah Department of Health (UDOH), the state’s 12 local health departments, and representatives from the private health care sector today unveiled a new campaign aimed at limiting the spread of Pandemic H1N1 influenza. The campaign provides information and tools Utahns can use to become “Flu Fighters” this fall.

“The key message we hope gets through is that there are simple, proactive steps
everybody can take to fight the flu,” said UDOH Executive Director Dr. David Sundwall
while introducing the campaign. “You don’t have to sit idly by and wait to become sick,
you can be a ‘Flu Fighter’ and this campaign will show you how.”

The campaign was developed to give Utahns critical information in three distinct areas:

How to prevent the flu, how to get vaccinated, and what to do if you get sick. Television commercials featuring Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Utah Jazz star Paul Millsap hit the airwaves today. In the commercials, the Governor and Millsap tell Utahns how they’ve become Flu Fighters and encourage others to join the team. The pair will also appear on billboards across the state.

The campaign also includes a new web site, www.utahflufighters.org, with
comprehensive information on how to prevent the spread of flu, where to find a
vaccination, and what to do if you get sick.

“We hope to help educate Utahns on when it is and is not appropriate to seek medical
care if they become sick,” said Dr. Susan Terry, a primary care physician with University of Utah Health Care. “The private health care sector is there to help sick people, and we want to make sure we preserve our ability to help those people by keeping others who don’t need medical attention out of emergency rooms and doctors’ offices.”

“Giving Utahns the information they need to make good decisions about their health and the health of their families is one of our most important jobs right now,” said Utah
County Health Department Executive Director Dr. Joseph Miner. “This campaign
provides one-stop shopping for all Utahns to find that information.”

The Flu Fighter web site is available in English and Spanish. Other web components of
the campaign include a presence on Facebook (www.facebook.com/UtahFluFighters),
Twitter (www.twitter.com/UtahFluFighters) and a YouTube channel

Health officials statewide encourage all Utahns to take a few minutes to go online, read
the information, and join the fight against the flu.



1026 HHS and Sesame Workshop release 13 new flu prevention radio PSAs featuring Governors and Elmo [Washington DC]--Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the availability of thirteen new 30-second flu radio public service announcements (PSA).  These new radio messages feature 13 of America’s governors and Elmo from Sesame Street.  The messages, which will be promoted to radio stations across the country, promote key flu prevention messages to parents and children.

Children and young adults continue to be disproportionately effected by H1N1. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of the hospitalizations from 2009 H1N1 flu reported recently were people age 24 and younger.  That’s why HHS has teamed up with Sesame Workshop and other partners to promote flu prevention PSAs aimed at educating children and their parents about the importance of getting vaccinated.

“Elmo has emerged as one of our best partners in fighting the flu this year,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “That’s why we are excited for Elmo to join some of the nation’s governors in promoting important flu prevention tips. We know that kids are especially vulnerable against H1N1, and we hope that hearing flu prevention tips from Elmo will help them stay healthy and flu free.”

These new 30-second radio ads are designed for broadcast in states around the country. All of the new ads are available for download at http://www.flu.gov/psa/psacongress.html.

All of the latest flu PSAs are available on www.flu.gov/psa/.   The new radio PSAs include recordings from: Gov. M. Jodi Rell of Connecticut, Gov. Chet Culver of Iowa, Gov. Mark Parkinson of Kansas, Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri, Gov. Bev Perdue of North Carolina, Gov. John Hoeven of North Dakota, Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio, Gov. Brad Henry of Oklahoma, Gov. Ted Kulongoski of Oregon, Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont, Gov. Chris Gregoire of Washington, and Gov. Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming.


1023 PURPLE shaken baby training program expands to foster parents [British Columbia]--Foster parents around the province will be more ready than ever to deal with babies who are going through a heightened period of crying, said Minister of Children and Family Development Mary Polak.

“It’s critical that we let all parents know that their babies may go through this period of extended and exhausting crying, but that it will end and it’s important that they never shake their child, no matter what,” said Polak. “Foster parents care for newborns and infants like any other new parent, so it’s important that they too receive the right training to prevent instances of shaken baby syndrome.”

They are the latest group of parents to receive the Period of PURPLE Crying prevention training, a program developed by the National Centre on Shaken Baby Syndrome and delivered in communities throughout the province by Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome BC, a program of BC Children’s Hospital, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority. Supported by funding from MCFD, the program – which offers all new parents materials including a DVD and booklet – has been successfully rolled out to all birthing hospitals and public health clinics around the province.

The focus of the program is to educate new parents and caregivers about how to deal with this intensive period of crying in a safe manner and to prevent occurrences of shaken baby syndrome, which can have life-threatening or life-altering outcomes.

“The Period of PURPLE Crying program is unique, in that it uses positive messages and education over negative warnings to bring about change in how we deal with a crying child,” said Marilyn Barr, director, Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome BC. “All parents and caregivers, including foster parents, need to know that it’s okay to walk away from a child – as long as they’re safe – if their crying becomes too frustrating.

“It doesn’t make you a bad parent, it just gives you time to regain control and patience so you don’t turn to shaking.”

The ministry is sending the training materials to all foster homes that care for children from newborn to three years of age – approximately 1,000 homes throughout B.C. Ministry social workers and contracted family support workers are also receiving the training through in-services, web conferencing or online training methods.

The PURPLE material will also be implemented into the mandatory 53-hour foster parent training curriculum.

“We strongly recommend that all caregivers caring for infants or toddlers take this excellent training, in order to ensure the best possible care can be provided,” said Melanie Filiatraut, president, B.C. Federation of Foster Parent Associations.

Shaken Baby Syndrome is the leading preventable cause of physical and mental disability among infants and young children. In B.C., it is estimated that there are at least three to 15 children each year who suffer traumatic brain injury as a result of shaking. Nearly one-third of these babies die. Of those who survive, approximately 80 per cent are left with permanent brain damage.

Long-term consequences of shaking include learning disabilities, physical disabilities, visual impairments/blindness, hearing impairment, speech disabilities, cerebral palsy, seizures, behaviour disorders, cognitive impairment or death.

“I can’t express enough how important prevention training is for all parents and caregivers – and the general public – so we can reduce the number of cases we see each year,” added Polak. “One case of shaken baby syndrome is one too many.”

Parents and caregivers can get more information on the Period of PURPLE Crying program at www.PURPLEcrying.info, a website designed just for them.

Health-care professionals can learn more about the program in B.C. on the Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome BC website at www.dontshake.ca.



1022 H1N1 flu: know when to seek medical care [South Dakota]--As the flu season progresses, health officials are reminding South Dakotans that most normally healthy people who get the flu can recover at home without a visit to a doctor.

“Unless your symptoms are severe, the best thing you can do is stay home rather than go to the doctor’s office and risk spreading the virus to other individuals,” said Dr. Aris Assimacopoulos, Infectious Disease Specialist for Avera Health. “Most people can recover at home by resting and drinking plenty of fluids.”
The symptoms of H1N1 flu include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, runny nose, headache, fatigue, chills and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting. Those whose symptoms are severe or who are at high risk for complications should seek medical care. This includes pregnant women, young children and those with underlying health conditions. Treatment with antiviral medication may be advised for these high risk groups.
“Children and adults who are ill and at high risk for complications or those with severe symptoms should call their doctor about whether they need to be seen,” said Dr. Wendell Hoffman, Patient Safety Officer for Sanford Health. “Don’t go to the emergency room unless you can’t reach your doctor and you have severe symptoms or at higher risk because of a chronic health condition.”
For children 5 and older and adults, treat fever and aches with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Do not give aspirin to children and teenagers with the flu because it can cause Reye’s syndrome. Check with a physician before giving over-the-counter cold medications to children younger than age 4.
There are several warning signs indicating the need for medical treatment. With children who have flu symptoms, seek medical care if the child has trouble breathing, has bluish or grayish skin color, isn’t drinking enough, is difficult to wake or is extremely irritable. Ill adults who have difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness or confusion should also seek care. Warning signs for both adults and children include severe or persistent vomiting or flu symptoms that improve but then return with fever and a worse cough.
“It’s also important that those with flu-like symptoms not visit family and friends in the hospital or nursing home. Many are instituting visitor restrictions to protect these vulnerable populations and it’s critical that people follow those restrictions,” said Dr. James Keegan, Chief Medical Officer and Infectious Disease Specialist for Regional Health.
The Department of Health offers the following general advice for people with flu symptoms:
  • Stay home, drink plenty of fluids and rest as much as possible. Avoid travel.
  • Stay home from work or school until at least 24 hours after your fever is gone – without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue or into your elbow.
  • In general, avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness.
Stay informed about H1N1 flu at the department’s web site, http://doh.sd.gov/H1N1. Detailed information about caring for the flu patient at home can be found at http://doh.sd.gov/PDF/InfluenzaHomeCareGuide.pdf.



1020 Caring for a flu patient at home [South Dakota]--Health officials say most normally healthy people who get the flu can recover at home but do you know how to care for a flu patient in the home setting?

“Most flu patients can be cared for at home, so it makes sense to be prepared to do that,” said Colleen Winter, Administrator of Health and Medical Services for the Department of Health. “These are good skills to have for both seasonal and H1N1 flu.”

When practical, the ill person should stay in a separate room away from others and one person should serve as main caregiver. Ideally, this caregiver should be healthy and not have medical conditions that increase the risk of severe influenza disease (e.g. pregnancy, heart problems, diabetes, kidney disease, chronic lung disease, over age 65, cancer, or patients that are immunocompromised). The following steps are recommended:

* Have the patient rest in bed, the more rest the better.
* Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen according to package label to reduce fever, headache, and muscle, joint or eye pain. Do not use aspirin in children or teenagers.
* Prevent dehydration by making sure the patient drinks plenty of fluids, such as water, juices, broth, and drinks with salt and sugar like sports drinks or lemonade.
* Care providers should wash their hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand cleaners, before and after attending to sick persons. Washing hands is the single best preventative measure for everyone in the household.
* Clean counters, surfaces and other areas in the home regularly using everyday cleaning products or a bleach solution (one part plain household bleach to nine parts water).
* The ill individual should stay home until 24 hours after fever has resolved without fever-reducing medications.
* Seek medical care if symptoms are severe or the patient has difficulty breathing, has bluish or grayish skin color, or there is severe or persistent vomiting.

For more detailed information see the Department of Health’s Influenza Home Care Guide at http://doh.sd.gov/PDF/InfluenzaHomeCareGuide.pdf.


Stay informed about H1N1 flu at the department’s web site, http://doh.sd.gov/H1N1.



1009 H1N1 HHS and the Ad Council launch national campaign [Washington DC]--Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is joining with the Ad Council to launch a series of national television public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to encourage Americans to take steps to protect themselves from the 2009 H1N1 flu virus. The ads are designed specifically to reach children, parents, pregnant women and young adults. A second series of PSAs, aimed at encouraging high-risk populations to get the H1N1 vaccination, is launching in late October.

Included in the PSAs being released today are new spots featuring characters from the popular Sesame Street and the winning spots from the recent 2009 Flu Prevention PSA Contest sponsored by HHS.

The Ad Council is distributing the following PSAs nationwide today and the ads will be supported in airtime donated by television stations nationwide. The spots will also be available at flu.gov, the government’s one-stop Web site for all the latest information on both seasonal and H1N1 flu:

  • Young Adults: The winning PSA video from HHS’ national 2009 Flu Prevention PSA Contest on YouTube (featuring the “hip hop doc”), along with four additional videos from the contest, will aim to reach those ages 17 to 24. More than 50,000 votes were cast for the contest. The PSAs are available in :30 and :60 lengths and include a Spanish-language spot.
  • Parents and Pregnant Women: Produced by HHS, a new series of TV ads featuring Olympic Gold Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, singer Marc Anthony and actress Amy Ryan, aim to reach parents and pregnant women. The PSA featuring Marc Anthony is also available in Spanish and the ads are in :30 length.
  • Parents and Children: Designed to reach children under the age of five and their parents, Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, produced two new television PSAs.  Sesame Street’s Elmo and Rosita have a new song teaching children the proper way to sneeze while Elmo and Luis talk to parents about the importance of creating a plan to keep their children home from school if they get sick. These messages build on a PSA Sesame Workshop released with HHS and the Ad Council earlier this year which explained the importance of practicing healthy habits this flu season. The PSAs are available in English and Spanish and are: 30 length.

“While getting a flu vaccine is the best way for Americans to protect themselves and their families from the flu, as we wait for the H1N1 vaccine to get distributed out into local doctors offices and sites across the country, there are critically important things that Americans can be doing right now to keep their friends and family healthy and safe and to prevent the spread of flu,” said Secretary Sebelius. “These new prevention PSAs will help us get the word out about what to do about the flu. Fighting the flu is a shared responsibility between all of us and we are so grateful to all those who helped create these wonderful new messages. We are hopeful that Americans will spread these new PSAs virally and use to them to help stop the spread of H1N1 and seasonal flu. ”

The H1N1 flu virus is contagious and spreads person-to-person the same way that seasonal influenza does. The virus has quickly spread worldwide and in June 2009 the World Health Organization declared a global H1N1 flu pandemic.

After a summer of elevated influenza activity levels, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded as many flu cases in September as it does when flu season normally peaks later in the fall and winter.   

Children, young adults under 25, pregnant women and adults 25-64 with underlying health conditions, like asthma, are more susceptible to falling ill to the H1N1 flu and are at higher risk for serious medical complications, including hospitalization and death. 

To date millions of Americans have gotten the H1N1 flu virus and more than 600 have died since the spring from H1N1 flu-related complications; including children and pregnant women. 

The new PSAs focus on the importance of providing Americans with accurate information on the simple steps they can take to help prevent the flu. The PSAs encourage audiences to visit www.flu.gov to get more information on how to stay healthy.

“Since the outbreak of the H1N1 flu, many Americans have expressed concern about how they can protect themselves from being infected,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “We are proud to continue our longstanding partnership with HHS for these critical PSAs that will educate Americans about steps they can take to stay healthy.”

The Ad Council has been partnering with HHS to develop PSA campaigns that address critical health issues since the 1950s. Their successful collaborations have included public service messages about the polio epidemic, drug abuse and, more recently, obesity prevention.


1009 H1N1 HHS unveils new features on Flu. gov [Washington DC]--HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today unveiled several new resources on the federal government’s one-stop resource for flu information -- www.flu.gov.  The Web site now features a new H1N1 Flu Self-Evaluation guide for adults 18 and older along with a new Flu Myths and Facts section, which provides the public with the latest and most accurate information about the flu.

“Flu.gov is a one-stop clearinghouse for the latest news about the flu,” said Secretary Sebelius.  “These new resources on flu.gov will help individuals get critical information on how to protect themselves and their families from the H1N1 virus. They will also help us to get accurate information out into the public realm so people know what the facts are about the flu.”

The new Flu Myths and Facts section on flu.gov debunks some of the myths about the H1N1 virus and vaccine, and provides accurate information on vaccinations, the flu, and public health.

The H1N1 Flu Self-Evaluation guide on flu.gov will give individuals 18 and older more information about what they can do to take care of themselves, prevent the spread of the flu to other members of their families, and identify the warning signs of more serious flu symptoms -- symptoms that require the attention of a medical professional.

The information in the H1N1 Flu Self-Evaluation guide is designed for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for your doctor’s advice.  It does not capture identifiable information in any manner and is completely anonymous.  Organizations providing public health education, blogs, and members of the media can add it to their Web sites.

“One way that we can help relieve some of the burden on the states and local providers this flu season is by helping people understand what the warning signs are when it comes to the flu,” said Secretary Sebelius. “In addition to the Self-Evaluation guide, we have also created some handy one-page information sheets called Flu Essentials that people can share with family, friends and neighbors.”


1009 H1N1 New guide available for community and faith-based organizations working to help Americans stay healthy [Washington DC]--Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the White House Office for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships began distributing a new flu-response guide for community and faith-based organizations this week in an effort to reach out and educate Americans about the dangers of the new H1N1 and seasonal flu, and to reach populations who may not have access to this public health information in other ways.

The document, entitled H1N1 Flu: A Guide for Community and Faith-Based Organizations, provides information about 2009 H1N1 flu and current response activities that are relevant to communities.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Director of the White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Joshua DuBois unveiled the new brochure to community and faith leaders from all 50 states in a conference call last week.

“All of you on this call are in a special position of trust,” Secretary Sebelius told the community and faith leaders. “It’s so important that you reach out to the people you minister to each and every day to let them know what they need to do to stay healthy this flu season. At this point, early in the season, we believe our efforts to fight the flu are on track. We’re monitoring this virus closely across the country, and we’re reaching out to state and local government officials, health departments, and all the way down to communities and families to make sure everyone recognizes this flu and has the information they need to take preventive measures now.”

“We are very pleased to release this guide for community and faith-based organizations,” said Joshua DuBois.  “Community and faith leaders have the ability to communicate information to community members effectively and they can help spread the word about how people can stay healthy this flu season.” 

The Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Homeland Security is also helping to distribute the guide to community and faith-based organizations.

“Community and faith-based organizations have a special role to play in preventing the spread of H1N1 and educating the public,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. “They are often the very first resource that members of a community seek out in times of need, and are uniquely positioned in communities to provide information and offer help and services.”

The new guide, which is available for download at flu.gov and www.hhs.gov/partnership or in hard copy from the Department of Health and Human Services, highlights ways organizations can contribute to flu response efforts by:

  • Communicating health information effectively and quickly in a culturally relevant and trustworthy manner;
  • Supporting vaccination efforts by encouraging people to get seasonal and 2009 H1N1 vaccinations according to federal recommendations and offering buildings and resources for vaccination distribution;
  • Linking vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations to vital information and resources; and
  • Expanding and adjusting organizational activities to help people stay healthy -- for example, by supporting school-based flu response through child-care and youth programs, and ensuring healthy work environments for staff and volunteers.








Headlines link directly to articles:

1029 Public can now vote for top H1N1 videos [California]

1027 New campaign recruits citizens to be 'Flu Fighters' [Utah]

1026 HHS and Sesame Workshop release 13 new flu prevention radio PSAs featuring Governors and Elmo [Washington DC]

1023 PURPLE shaken baby training program expands to foster parents [British Columbia]

1022 H1N1 flu: know when to seek medical care [South Dakota]

1020 Caring for a flu patient at home [South Dakota]

1009 H1N1 HHS and the Ad Council launch national campaign [Washington DC]

1009 H1N1 HHS unveils new features on Flu. gov [Washington DC]

1009 H1N1 New guide available for community and faith-based organizations working to help Americans stay healthy [Washington DC]


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