HEALTH

MedImmune launches ‘Don’t Play with the Flu’ campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK MedImmune, Women’s Professional Soccer and the American Youth Soccer Organization last week launched the “Don’t Play with the Flu” campaign, which aims to highlight the importance of getting a seasonal influenza vaccination every year. The program kicked off with soccer legends Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain.

“‘Don’t Play with the Flu’ reflects MedImmune’s commitment to supporting healthy families,” stated Tony Zook, president of MedImmune. “We’re very pleased to partner with Women’s Professional Soccer, the American Youth Soccer Organization, and of course Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain, to bring this important preventive health message to families across the country this flu season.”

“We know a vaccine is the best way to help protect ourselves from the flu, so my family and I get a seasonal flu vaccine as soon as we can every year,” stated Hamm. “That way we can concentrate on all the other things we regularly do to stay healthy on and off the field and in our busy lives.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that the best way families can help prevent the seasonal flu is by getting a flu vaccine every year for those individuals who are eligible to receive it. The CDC recommends that children 6 months through 18 years of age be vaccinated annually against seasonal flu and that eligible individuals be immunized as soon as the seasonal vaccine becomes available, which can be as early as August and September.

“Along with all the things that parents know are important for helping keep their kids healthy — like washing hands and getting enough sleep — influenza vaccination should be at the top of the list. It’s a smart defense to help protect our kids and our families from seasonal flu,” stated Anat Feingold, a pediatric infectious disease expert. “And because kids can spread the flu, including at school, it’s important that parents ask about an annual flu vaccine as soon as it is available. Back-to-school and sports physicals can be the perfect opportunity.”

The campaign offers families information, resources, and updates through DontPlaywiththeFlu.com, including interactive content, a quiz about seasonal flu and educational information. The campaign also aims to educate families about the importance of seasonal flu vaccination for eligible individuals through informational brochures at WPS stadiums, media events and soccer clinics in WPS franchise cities, and directly to AYSO members and families around the country.

As a part of the campaign, MedImmune has become a sponsor of WPS, the world’s premier women’s professional soccer league, and AYSO, a nationwide nonprofit youth soccer organization that develops and delivers quality youth soccer programs to approximately 600,000 players. MedImmune was the presenting sponsor of the 2009 WPS Championship in Los Angeles Aug. 22, and will also present the “Defender of the Year” award at the WPS All-Star Game in St. Louis on Aug. 30.

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McNeil Consumer Healthcare expands Visine line

BY Michael Johnsen

MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. McNeil Consumer Healthcare on Wednesday announced the introduction of Visine Totality Multi-Symptom Relief — a new eye drop formulated to relieve the seven symptoms associated with eye irritation, including red, burning, watery, itchy, gritty, dry and irritated eyes.

The company also introduced Ultra-soft Visine Total Eye Soothing Wipes for cleansing the area around the eyes, removing make-up, debris and irritants like dust and pollen. The ophthalmologist- and dermatologist- tested wipes feature a blend of eight moisturizers, a cooling agent, and a gentle cleanser (Coco-Glucoside) derived from coconut and fruit sugars to sweep away debris. Safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers, the wipes gently glide around the eyes to soothe the area and deliver clean, fresh, makeup-free eyes.

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Survey: Americans’ hand-washing habits haven’t changed

BY Michael Johnsen

MILWAUKEE Worries about the H1N1 virus haven’t changed most Americans’ hand-washing habits, according to a national survey released by Bradley Corp. Tuesday morning.

In Bradley’s first Healthy Hand Washing Survey, 54% of respondents reported they “wash their hands no more or less frequently” in public restrooms since the H1N1 virus emerged.

“We were extremely surprised by that response especially since the medical community calls hand washing the best defense against the spread of cold and flu viruses,” stated Jon Dommisse, director of marketing and product development at Bradley Corporation.

Bradley’s survey, conducted online July 28-31, queried 1,020 Americans about hand washing in public restrooms. The respondents were from around the country, ranged in age from 18 to over 65 and were equally divided by gender.

Although 87% said they did wash their hands after using public lavatories, other responses indicated some may have exaggerated how often they did the job correctly. When asked if they had also used soap, the numbers declined slightly to 86%; yet 55% of the group admitted on occasion they’ve simply rinsed, without using soap.

In contrast to what people say they do, numerous observational studies have reported what Americans actually do. In 2007, researchers from the American Society for Microbiology found only 77% washed their hands after using a public restroom.

Hand-washing among school-age children is especially important since at least 22 million school days are lost every year due to the common cold, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Hand-washing is a lifetime health practice,” says Dommisse. “Children should understand its benefits and take that knowledge into adulthood.”

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