Einstein Science Reporting for Kids
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Contact: Carlisle Campbell
Ketchum DC

Education program helps families scare away the flu

Say “Boo!” to the flu aims to increase number of kids vaccinated against the flu

October 2006 ATLANTA, GA – Halloween isn't the only scary thing right around the corner. October is also the start of flu season, and Families Fighting Flu, a group of families who experienced the loss of a child to the flu, and many Visiting Nurse Associations joined forces to say "Boo!" to the flu with a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of flu vaccinations for children.

Starting in October, Families Fighting Flu, many Visiting Nurse Associations and The Clorox Company, will host Say "Boo!" to the Flu events throughout the country, providing on-site flu vaccinations and educational materials to help families get their children vaccinated early and learn more about cold and flu prevention.

This flu season, for the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all healthy children 6 months to 5 years old get vaccinated against the flu. This is an expansion from previous CDC recommendations of children 6 months to 2 years old. During the past three flu seasons, more than 250 children in the U.S. died from influenza and its complications. Richard Kanowitz's daughter, Amanda, was one of them. She was 4 1/2 years old when she died suddenly from complications of the flu in 2004.

"We are urging the CDC to change the influenza vaccination recommendations so that all children get vaccinated against the flu," said Richard Kanowitz, president of Families Fighting Flu. "The expanded CDC recommendations are an important first step in protecting the safety of children against the flu. But a recent study shows only 16 percent of parents are aware of these new guidelines."

Say "Boo!" to the Flu Events
Many Visiting Nurse Associations across the country and Families Fighting Flu urge you to get your family vaccinated in October and November, before the flu season peaks, for vaccinations to be most effective. At Say "Boo!" to the Flu events, local Visiting Nurse Association clinicians will administer flu vaccines and distribute prevention tips to teach children and parents how to scare away the flu virus this season. Families can visit www.sayboototheflu.com to find the nearest Say "Boo!" to the Flu event or other flu vaccination events in their area, and learn more information about the seriousness of the flu.

"The Visiting Nurse Association of Kansas City (VNAKC) is proud to help families Say "Boo!" to the Flu this upcoming cold and flu season," said VNAKC President Rich Roberson. "Parents have a chance to be real superheroes this Halloween by getting their families vaccinated at Say "Boo!" to the Flu events, scheduled throughout the month of October."

Prevention Tips
Vaccination is the first step in flu prevention, but parents can also help by reinforcing healthy habits with their families to reduce exposure to the flu virus.
• Sing & Scrub: Make sure kids wash their hands the right way. They should wash frequently with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice).
• Do the Elbow Cough: Teach kids to cough into elbows, not hands where they're more likely to spread bacteria and viruses through touch.
• Disinfect Hot Spots: Kids can touch up to 300 surfaces in 30 minutes, so be sure to disinfect the surfaces kids touch most frequently – like doorknobs, light switches, faucets or toys. Use a disinfectant approved to kill cold and flu viruses.
• Follow Good Health Guidelines: Eat right, exercise and get plenty of sleep to help boost your body's ability to fight the effects of colds and flu.

About the Flu
Influenza, or "the flu," is an easy-to-spread viral infection. The symptoms include high fever, chills, cough, aches and fatigue. A simple cough or sneeze can spread the flu virus from person to person. The flu virus can live on household surfaces too and can spread when a person touches a surface, like a toy, with the virus on it then touches their mouth or nose.

To learn more about Say "Boo!" to the Flu or to find a vaccination event near you, visit www.sayboototheflu.com.

About Families Fighting Flu
Families Fighting Flu, Inc. is a non-profit, volunteer-based corporation established in 2004, that is made up of families and physicians who have experienced first-hand loss of a child to the flu or have had a child experience severe medical complications from the flu. For more information, visit www.familiesfightingflu.org.

About Visiting Nurse Associations
Many Visiting Nurse Associations (VNAs) were established in the late 1800's. VNAs are not-for-profit home health care agencies offering a comprehensive range of in-home services. At Say "Boo!" to the Flu events, VNA clinicians will administer flu vaccines and distribute flu prevention tips to help families in their communities Say "Boo!" to the Flu. For a complete list of VNAs hosting Say "Boo!" to the Flu events, visit www.sayboototheflu.com.

About The Clorox Company
The Clorox Company is committed to helping families live easier, healthier and better lives. As part of this commitment, Clorox is honored to support the Say "Boo!" to the Flu program to educate parents about the importance of flu prevention and the role of disinfecting to help prevent the spread of surface germs that cause the flu.