Joining forces to keep East Texans safe

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A massive high tech push is out to get the facts out about the H1N1 virus. From 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, all the way to Sesame Street.

Elmo and Gordon are now helping spread the word, teaming up with the government web site, to help kids and families stay healthy.

"You really have to help educate the kids," said Stephanie Taylor, with the Northeast  Texas Public Health District, who posted the video to their web site. Click here to watch.

"We work everyday to try to educate the community on what to do, and give them the information that they need...and this really puts it at their finger tips," said Taylor.

There's even an I-Phone app to track H1N1, with a map, called Outbreaks Near Me. It's a new, free and provides real-time disease outbreak information on outbreaks in your neighborhood. Some say there are pros and cons.

"It helps to put health awareness on the forefront across the world," said Taylor. "We have professionals that do disease surveillance everyday and it could cause a little panic in the community...on things where there's no need to panic."

"This, again, is a mild disease," said Sylvia Radcliffe, an RN with Mother Francis Infection Control. "It's not been as bad."

Hospital officials say the regular seasonal flu kills thousands of people every year, but you can do things to stay safe.

"Getting the flu vaccine [and] taking extra precautions, all of these should happen during the flu season," said Radcliffe.

So, as long as people remain sensible, this fall, the world could be a healthier place from Sesame Street and abroad. The H1N1 virus has already sickened more than one million Americans. A vaccine is still being developed. U.S. Health officials expect it to be available by October.

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