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NEW YORK Images of “Sesame Street’s” Count tabulating H1N1 flu cases aside, this really emphasizes how serious the government is in attempting to mitigate the spread of H1N1 through more traditional mediums, such as people’s laptops and their television sets.
First, kids spread colds and flu. With the rhinovirus (common cold), school children typically get between five to six colds each year; their parents two to three. So it makes sense to target and educate children and their parents around sound prevention techniques.
Second, folks at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention get it. That wash-your-hands/cover-your-mouth/get-the-flu-shot message is being repeated over and over — which is what needs to happen if you’re going to break through the clutter of messages reaching Americans these days, both young and old. And wash-your-hands Elmo isn’t the only tactic utilized by HHS and CDC to drive this message home.
The government is also being smart about just how hard to hammer that don’t-spread-the-flu message home. Just check out flu.gov, in addition to all of the bare facts around H1N1, in addition to the four “Sesame Street” fight-the-flu PSAs, there are a number of public-service announcements that were submitted by people as part of a PSA contest. The winner gets $2,500 and their PSA on national television later this month. More than 200 PSAs were submitted, and 10 were chosen to submit to public scrutiny for voting, which people can do through Sept. 16 at flu.gov. And while Americans log on to the site to vote and choose, they’re opting into hearing that prevention message over and over, and then they’re talking to their friends about it.