Flu Education Resources

17 10 2012

The American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza campaign has a fabulous toolkit available this year that is free-of-charge, along with PSAs that are also free-of-charge.

They have brochures, posters, and flyers ready to print, and they have an influenza backgrounder, templates of articles and letters to the editor, press releases, print ads, and other materials ready to use.

You may download all of these materials, or you may ask that hard copies be sent to you.

There are two campaign spokespeople this year, both of whom are warm and caring individuals—one is Sarah Chalke from the television show Scrubs, and the other is Maria Canals Barrera, from the television show Wizards of Waverly Place.

If you have any questions about the materials, contact Mary Havell at the American Lung Association.

Families Fighting Flu also has materials that may be downloaded and used in flu-fighting efforts. They have posters, postcards, and brochures that may either be downloaded at no cost, or they have hard copies that may be ordered.

The Immunization Action Coalition has handouts about vaccine-preventable diseases and vaccines that may be downloaded from their website free-of-charge.

The Vaccine Education Center at CHOP also has many handouts that are downloadable free-of-charge from their website.

There are lots of other organizations that have free educational material about influenza, including PKIDs.

What materials do you have that you can share with others this flu season? Tell us about them in comments, and leave URLs if you can.

By Trish Parnell
Image courtesy of USACE Europe District





NIVS Weekly Call

10 09 2012

The National Influenza Vaccine Summit was created about a dozen years ago to address and resolve “influenza and influenza vaccine issues.” The CDC, the AMA, and 400+ other partners work together in this year-round effort.

During the flu season, there are weekly calls to keep all of the partners updated on the ups and downs of influenza in the US. And, just last spring in May 2011, there was held in Brussels, Belgium, the first European Influenza Summit. The two groups are now working collaboratively to reduce influenza infections.

The calls are brief and to the point. We thought you might find use for these few notes from the 6 September US call:

  • Scott Epperson from the CDC reported on flu surveillance. He said that there are low numbers of seasonal flu and most of those are H3N2 and influenza B viruses. However, there are 288 confirmed cases of the H3N2v (variant) virus, which is a swine flu strain. (New numbers are posted every Friday, so this figure may change by the time this post runs.) Sixteen of those infected were hospitalized and there was a death—an older individual with multiple, high-risk medical conditions which led to complications of influenza infection. Ninety-three of those infected were under the age of 18, with an average age of six years. Fifty-two percent were female and 48% were male, and of those with a known antiviral treatment status, 60% had been treated, and of those with a known vaccination status, 53% reported being vaccinated within the last year.
  • Harvard has now taken over the Flu Shot Finder started by Google, and they’ve done an excellent job expanding its capabilities. John Brownstein provided slides on the new features and the new site can be found at http://flushot.healthmap.org. There’s a widget available for use on your own websites that will allow people to put in their zip codes to find flu vaccine near them.
  • Christine Harding from the National Council on Aging’s Flu + You campaign presented on their program and the many free resources available to flu educators and healthcare providers. Stop by their site and take a look—there’s bound to be something you can use.

That’s it for this week. We didn’t cover everything, but what’s left out has been covered extensively elsewhere.

Do you have any flu educational resources you’d like to share? Let folks know about them in the comments, and thanks!

By Trish Parnell
Image courtesy of NIVS





H3N2v – Another Swine Flu

9 08 2012

Last summer, there were a dozen reported cases of an influenza A variant virus called H3N2v. This strain comes from pigs. As of today, the official CDC count is 145 cases reported, with a big surge seen in July 2012.

The CDC will report the number of confirmed cases every Friday and that number of 145 is expected to increase tomorrow, 10 August, as the CDC gets more reports from the states.

Because the states are now able to confirm cases without waiting for CDC’s confirmation, the states will always have the most current numbers.

This surge is thought primarily to be connected to agricultural fairs being held around the country.

Before 2007, there were one or two cases reported each year. After that time, and until 2010, there were maybe half a dozen cases reported each year due to improved diagnostics provided to the states.

CDC’s Dr. Joseph Bresee of the Influenza Division says that most of those infected have had direct or indirect exposure to infected pigs, although there have been limited numbers of human-to-human transmission.

Over 90 percent of the infected have been children. Children tend to be the ones that care for the pigs at the fairs, and it may be that while adults have had exposure to H3 viruses and that has given them some antibody protection, the children have no such antibodies.

The symptoms are typical of seasonal influenza and the cases so far have been mild, with a total of five individuals hospitalized since July 2011.

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills (not everyone has a fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

There have been no deaths, and those hospitalized have been released and are well. More hospitalizations are expected for those with high risk conditions.

There is no evidence that there is sustained efficient human-to-human transmission, and it’s not a pandemic situation, but the CDC is monitoring the situation.

Large numbers of agricultural fairs are ongoing in the US, and pigs are the primary source of infection, so it’s recommend that those attending such fairs:

  • Wash hand frequently before and after exposure to animals
  • Don’t eat or drink around animals
  • Keep away from sick pigs
  • If one is at high risk of seasonal flu, avoid exposure to swine completely when going to fairs

If you have flu symptoms following direct exposure to swine, tell your doctor about that exposure so that antivirals may be considered.

The H3N2v strain is not in the seasonal flu vaccine, but get vaccinated to protect yourself against the other strains of influenza.

By Trish Parnell

Image courtesy of The Portland Press Herald





Flu’s Gonna Lose

13 10 2011

Medical historians believe that influenza became a human disease about 6,000 years ago. Despite the enormous scientific, medical and technological sophistication we enjoy today, influenza, combined with pneumonia, is a leading cause of death in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says:

Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-related deaths in the United States range from a low of 3,000 people to a high of about 49,000 people. Each year, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from the flu, including an average of 20,000 children younger than 5 years of age.

The 2009-2010 flu season is an example of how unpredictable flu can be. That season followed the emergence of a new H1N1 influenza virus in the spring of 2009. This virus caused the first influenza pandemic (global outbreak of disease) in more than 40 years. Thousands of healthy children and adults had to visit the doctor or were hospitalized from flu complications.

As individuals, we want to protect ourselves against a largely preventable disease. As a community, we must get vaccinated to protect our youngest and oldest citizens—those most at risk not only for infection, but for the complications that can arise from infection.

If you’re wanting some materials or ideas for this flu season, we’ve developed a program that may be used by anyone wishing to promote flu vaccination.

PKIDs’ Flu’s Gonna Lose campaign urges family and community members to spread the health by refusing the opportunity to experience the vagaries of this deadly disease and instead, offer up an arm to immunization, wash our hands, cover our coughs and sneezes, and stay home to stop the spread of disease.

There are many free materials, both branded and unbranded, available for download from our website, including:

If you have any educational materials to share with others, will you provide URLs in the comments? Sharing ideas and materials is a great way to make our budgets stretch.

Adapted from PKIDs’ website





Multi-Language Flu Information

24 01 2011

How many times have you been confused by the information (or misinformation) about influenza? Just sorting symptoms, risk factors, vaccination information, and different strains can be a bit of a challenge. Now imagine that you don’t speak the language in which the information is written. Not easy, to say the least.

The CDC’s flu.gov website has a helpful page, “Flu Essentials – What You Need To Know” – with everything you need to know in various languages, including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Arabic, Russian, Tagalog, Korean and Vietnamese.

The page links to information sheets that one can print out, and the info sheets cover topics such as “People with Asthma,” “Emergency Warning Signs,” “Pregnancy,” “10 Ways You Can Stay Healthy at Work,” and more.

Everyone is entitled to make an informed decision when it comes to their health and parents must do so on behalf of their children. If you or someone you know could use this important information in a language other than English, be sure to share this blog with them!

¿Cuántas veces ha sido confundido por la información (o información incorrecta) sobre la influenza? Sólo clasificar los síntomas, factores de riesgo, la información de la vacunación, y las tipos diferentes pueden ser un poco un difícil de entender. Ahora imagine que usted no habla el idioma en que está escrita la información.? No es fácil, por decir lo menos.

El CDC tiene una página web, “Fundamentos de la gripe – Lo que usted necesita saber” – con todo lo que necesita saber en varios idiomas, incluyendo español, francés, alemán, italiano, árabe, ruso, tagalo, coreano y vietnamita.

La página le lleva a las hojas de información que se puede imprimir, y las hojas de información cubren temas tales como “Las personas con asma”, “Señales de Alerta de Emergencia”, “Embarazo”, “10 maneras de cuidar su salud en el trabajo , “y mucho más.

Cada uno tiene derecho a tomar una decisión informada cuando viene a su salud y los padres deben hacerlo en nombre de sus niños. ¡Si usted o alguien que usted sabe podría utilizar esta información importante en un idiomia distinto del inglés, esté seguro de compartir este acoplamiento con éllos!





Vote and Vax

1 11 2010

Vote & Vax strongly urges public health and emergency management agencies to pilot immunization stations at polling places in their communities this Election Day. Flu season is almost here and we all have a stake in making sure that as many Americans as possible have a chance to be vaccinated.

While most flu sufferers recover in a couple weeks with no problems, a flu vaccination can prevent severe complications like pneumonia or death in vulnerable populations – such as the very young, the elderly, and those with other serious medical conditions.

Vote & Vax is also a great exercise in emergency preparedness. Improving your agency’s skill in immunizing potentially large numbers of people at community venues helps build your capacity to better respond to emergencies or disasters in the future.

Interested in protecting and preparing your community for flu season?

Participating in Vote & Vax is easy and a great opportunity to increase your community’s awareness of the importance and role of public health providers. Register your agency now and receive a free Election Day event kit — but only while supplies last!

Find out more at www.voteandvax.org or watch our story on YouTube!

Doug Shenson, M.D.
Program Director
Vote & Vax





Free Flu Educational Materials

2 09 2010

If you’re a flu fighter, someone whose mission is to work with the public to stop disease transmission, there are a couple of resources we’d like to tell you about.

PKIDs has a toolkit for educators called Flu’s Gonna Lose.  This kit has free materials to download—most materials are open-source so you are allowed to brand with your organization logo and contact information.

The kit includes:

  • Posters 8.5 x 11 or 8.5 x 14
  • Web banners and buttons – animated or static
  • Podcasts and blogs for sharing
  • PTA materials with:
    • Fact sheets
    • Letter templates to raise flu awareness with school officials and staff
    • How-to guide for creating and running a school-based flu vaccine clinic
    • Sample radio PSA scripts
    • Sample press release
  • Nonprofit/group materials with:
    • Materials similar to PTA, but adapted for use by nonprofits

The CDC is coming out with many materials to support its new campaign, “Flu Ends With U.”

They offer:

There are many more materials coming from the CDC and they should all be online by end of September at the latest.

If you know of other free materials for flu educators to use, pass them along and we’ll post the info in a blog.