Friday, November 30, 2012

Get Ready website wins Web Health Award

Last week, APHA’s Get Ready campaign was delighted to learn that our website,, won a Web Health Award.

The Web Health Awards are announced twice a year by the Health Information Resource Center. The awards are to honor “the nation’s best digital health resources.”

The Get Ready website, which features fact sheets, podcasts, videos and other materials related to emergency preparedness, won a bronze award. Our winning entry was chosen from nearly 600 entries judged by a panel of experts in digital health media.

For a full list of winners, visit the center’s website.

Congratulations to Get Ready!  Let us know what we can do to make the Get Ready website even better.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Get Ready Mailbag: What kind of flu shots are there?

Welcome to another installment of the Get Ready Mailbag, when we take time to answer questions sent our way by readers like you. Have a question you want answered? Send an email to

Q: There are so many kinds of flu shots this year — how do I know which one is right for me?

A: We're glad you're planning on getting your flu shot. Every year there is a different combination of flu strains in the vaccine. This year’s flu shot is different than last year’s formula, so the shot you got last year will not protect you.

And you’re right about the kinds of flu shots - there are more options than ever!  But there’s no reason to be confused. Here’s a breakdown of the different kinds of flu vaccinations options that are available in the U.S. this year:
  • Injection: This is the most common type of flu vaccination. If you’ve had a flu shot before, you know what to expect: You’ll get a small amount of flu vaccine injected into your muscle (usually your deltoid, or shoulder).
  • Nasal: The flu vaccine is also available as a nasal spray,  though it should not be used by pregnant women or those with certain conditions, such as asthma.
  • Intradermal flu shot: For people afraid of needles, this is the flu shot for you! The needle is much smaller on this type of shot, and the vaccine is delivered intradermally (under your skin) instead of in your muscle like the regular flu shot. This option can cost extra, so check with your doctor or pharmacy.
  • High-dose flu shot: The high-dose flu shot is made for people 65 and older. It has a stronger dose of medication than the regular seasonal flu shot.
  • Preservative-free, single-dose flu shot: Normally the flu-shot — like many other vaccines and injections — comes in a multi-dose bottle with a small amount of preservative known as thimerosol to help the vaccine stay fresh for longer. Some people prefer preservative-free flu shots. These are more expensive, come packaged in a single dose and usually have to be ordered ahead of time.
Remember that whichever type of flu vaccine that you choose, it will protect you against three strains of flu.

The best time to get your flu shot is early in the flu season, before flu is widespread in the community, because it can take up to two weeks for the flu shot to fully protect you. And don't forget to practice good hand hygiene and cold and flu etiquette year-round!

We hope this has helped you decide what flu shot is right for you. If you need to find out where to get your flu shot, check out HealthMap's Flu Vaccine Finder.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Make sure your medicine works when you need it: Get smart about antibiotics!

Picture this: You’re coughing and sneezing. Not sure if you have a cold or the flu, you head to the bathroom and open the medicine cabinet. Checking through the bottles of pills, you find some antibiotics. Should you take them?

The answer is NO. You could be doing more harm than good! Here’s why:
  • Colds and the flu are caused by viruses. Antibiotics don’t work on viruses.
  • Taking an antibiotic when you should be taking some other kind of medication can lead to something called antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria are exposed to an antibiotic medication so much that they figure out how to survive around the medication. This means that medications that treat all kinds of infections won’t work any more. 
  • Antibiotic resistance is one of the most serious public health threats around the world, and it’s becoming more common. 
The good news is that you can help to fight antibiotic resistance. Nov. 12-18 is Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, which was created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help educate the public about antibiotics so they can make smart choices when it comes to taking medications. Here are five tips to protect your health:
  1. Do not take antibiotics for a viral infection like a cold, the flu or a runny nose. Here is a chart from CDC to help you figure out if you might have a viral infection. If you’re sick, the best thing to do is to call or make an appointment with your health care provider.
  2. Do not ask for antibiotics for you or your child if your doctor says you don’t need them.
  3. Do not take antibiotics that were prescribed for other people or for other kinds of infections. The antibiotic might not treat the illness that you have, so you could get sicker.
  4. If your health care provider prescribes an antibiotic, take it exactly as they tell you. Finish the whole dose even if you start feeling better before the medication runs out. Don’t skip doses and don’t save medication for the next time you or someone else gets sick.
  5. Wash your hands to prevent infections. (Check out our fact sheets for great handwashing information!) Make sure to wash with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel. Regular soap and water are fine, but avoid soaps and cleaners that say “antibacterial” on the label. These products usually have an antibiotic called triclosan, which may contribute to antibiotic resistance.
For more information to help you get smart about antibiotics, check out this Healthy You fact sheet from The Nation’s Health: Antibiotics: Know when they’re not needed. Feel free to share this with friends, family and coworkers too – Everyone has to get smart about antibiotics so that the medications work when we really need them!

If you use Twitter, join us on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. EST for a Twitter chat about antibiotics. Experts from the CDC will be there to answer your questions. Follow @CDC_eHealth and @GetReady to join in, and don’t forget to use the tag #SaveAbx.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Help us get the word out: It’s time to Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks on Nov. 4!

When daylight saving time ends this Sunday, Nov. 4, it’s a great time to check your emergency stockpile for expired items. That’s the idea behind Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks!

The campaign uses the twice annual clock change as a reminder for people to check that nothing in their stockpile has been misplaced, is expired (leaky batteries, anyone?) or needs replenishing.

You can help your friends, family and community be prepared for the next disaster by spreading the word. Here are just some of the ways you can get the word out:
  1.  Check out our free materials to educate people about building and updating an emergency stockpile.
  2. Share one of our free e-cards to remind people to check their stocks.
  3. Remind your Twitter followers or Facebook friends! Check out our sample tweets for some ideas.
  4. Share our Set Your Clocks, Check your Stocks video!
  5. Get logos for your blog or website as well as more resources and ideas at our clocks and stocks page.
Thanks for spreading the word and helping your community get ready!