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News and More News About Flu Season 2012-13

News about the 2012-2013 influenza (or “flu”) season has been everywhere recently. The cities of Boston and New York have declared public health emergencies, and Dr. Anthony Facui, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, has indicated that we are in what is classically described as a flu epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 22,048 flu cases from September 30 – December 31, 2012, compared with 849 cases reported during the same time frame in 2011 (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/).

One of the ways librarians and information specialists can share important messages about topics such as the flu is by using social media tools to promote reliable and trustworthy health information to our clients and audiences. The Health and Human Services Media News Media Team has created suggested messages relevant to the flu. Consider how you might use them:

Twitter

  • It takes 2 weeks after vaccination for you to be protected. Use our finder to find a #flu vaccine center near you. http://bit.ly/Soutac
  • Teachers-help keep your classrooms free of germs. Teach healthy habits at school to prevent flu in your classroom. http://go.usa.gov/gmfJ
  • There are three different types of #flu shot and a nasal spray. Which is the right one for you? http://go.usa.gov/YpKQ
  • Flu activity is high across most states in the US now. Learn more about preventing #flu. Visit http://www.flu.gov.
  • Vaccination is the best protection against #flu but vaccine may be limited in some areas. Use http://flushot.healthmap.org  to locate vaccine.
  • Got the #flu? Don’t share it. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever goes away. Visit http://www.flu.gov
  • It’s #flu season. http://www.flu.gov provides advice on caring for yourself and loved ones who are sick.
  • If you still need #flu vaccine, now’s the time to get vaccinated. #Flu is widespread in many states.
  • #FluView, a weekly report of #flu activity in the U.S., is available on the @CDCgov website at http://1.usa.gov/e30wKG
  • Find out what’s happening near you on the @CDCgov #flu map. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/usmap.htm

Facebook

  • If you haven’t already been vaccinated for the flu, now’s the time. Vaccine may be limited in some areas.  You may need to contact more than one provider (pharmacy, health department, or doctor) to find available vaccine. Visit http://flushot.healthmap.org for more information.
  • Learn more about how to care for loved ones with the flu, including people at high risk (children, seniors, and people with chronic conditions). Start by getting vaccinated, practicing healthy habits like covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and washing hands regularly. Visit http://www.flu.gov for more information.

For general information about the flu, start with the “flu” Health Topics page in MedlinePlus (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/flu.html) which has good current information in many languages, including a number of new videos.

Be well!

flu.gov logo

[Note: Special thanks to Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, Health Sciences Librarian, Aquilent, Inc., SIS Division of DIMRC, NLM for some of the content in this post via Disaster Information Outreach by Librarians listserv.]

 

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