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In Their Own Words: Kids Offer Advice on H1N1 Flu


Kids tell it like it really is in new video
Aetna sharing video to reinforce H1N1 flu prevention messages

HARTFORD, Conn., “At the mall, after using the bathroom, some people put water on their hands and just leave. They don’t really use soap. To me, that’s disgusting. That’s just not right.” Kids tell it like it is in a new video on preventing H1N1 virus infection. Ranging in age from 11 months to 13 years, young “experts” share their unique perspective on preventing the spread of germs and staying healthy. You can find their advice on YouTube at or on Aetna’s website at Aetna (NYSE: AET) is sharing the video widely in the hope that parents will watch it with their children, and that the video will reinforce public messages about how to keep our communities healthy.

“Aetna wanted a fun way to reinforce the message of how important it is to carefully wash your hands and follow common sense preventive measures in order to reduce the risk of H1N1 infection and help prevent the spread of disease,” said Bill Fried, MD, Aetna’s medical director heading the company’s pandemic flu response initiative. “Kids listen to other kids. Adults should listen too. We’ve all heard the advice about washing your hands and covering your cough, but sometimes kids say it best. After all, who knows more about germs than kids?”

Advice from kids often comes with a twist, making it more memorable. Here’s a recommendation you won’t hear everywhere. “If you cough onto someone, they can get sick. So cough into a tissue. Then throw it into the garbage and wait for the garbage truck to come.”
Or this reminder: “If you sneeze into your hands and then grab the remote to change the channel, there are germs on the remote.”

While the video is lighthearted and endearing, the message is serious. A recent ABC News/Washington Post survey found nearly four in ten parents do not plan to have their children immunized with the H1N1 vaccine despite evidence the virus is having a bigger impact on the young than on other priority groups identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The poll numbers are also sobering for adults. Only 35 percent of U.S. adults indicated they plan to be vaccinated.

The CDC recommends that vaccination efforts should focus first on people in five target groups who are at higher risk for complications of H1N1 flu or who could transmit flu viruses to others at high risk. These groups include pregnant women, people who live with or provide care for infants younger than 6 months, health care and emergency medical services personnel, people 6 months through 24 years of age, and people 25 years through 64 years of age who have certain medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications.

In light of these facts, Aetna is continuing to reach out to members with information about the H1N1 flu, vaccine safety, and preventing infection. Aetna’s website provides fact sheets, Q&As, and tips on what to do if you get sick or are caring for someone who is sick. There is also a self-evaluation tool made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and developed in collaboration with Emory University School of Medicine that helps people understand their flu symptoms so they can make informed decisions about whether they need to see their doctor or even proceed to the nearest emergency room. All of the materials use plain language techniques to make them easy to understand.


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