The threat of avian influenza is one that differs significantly from the annual dose of flu we experience, and the occurrence of an influenza pandemic would be devastating if the public relied only on its current typical flu attitudes and practices. Avian influenza presents an enormous challenge to all public health and medical fields, but perhaps one of its greatest difficulties will be communicating information to the public in a manner that yields an effective and controlled response. Influenza has a long and rather involved social history attached to it, yet despite its ever-changing viral and social effect, the flu has developed a rather recalcitrant connotation, so that the general public views the flu as a chronic and lackluster affair. Therefore, the issue that health communicators must overcome is the gap between the public's understanding of influenza, and the reality of the behaviors and perceptions necessary to handle the avian flu pandemic.
[...] The risk of the avian flu pandemic requires delicate communication in order to channel a constructive public response. Yet before health communication can address the avian flu, it must first make an effort to dispel the misconceptions that the public currently connect to influenza. Health communication is the lynchpin that holds public attitudes and actions together with the advisories of the public health field. Avian influenza will challenge the scope of health communication to reach people perceptions on an innovative level without igniting a pandemic of fear parallel to the pandemic itself. [...]
[...] Barriers to influenza immunization in a low-income urban population. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 21-25. Gostin, Lawrence O. (2004). Pandemic influenza: Public health preparedness for the next global health emergency. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Winter, 565-573. Grant, Vincent et. al. (2001). Factors influencing childhood influenza immunization. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 168(1), 39-41. Sandman, Peter M. and Lanard, Jody. [...]
[...] (2005). Bird flu: Communicating. Perspectives in Health, 3-9. White, Cindy, et. al. (2005). The impact of a health campaign on hang hygiene and upper respiratory illness among college students living in residence halls. Journal of American College Health, 175-181. It's not the same flu you grew up with . You [...]
[...] The overall goal of this media is to create a basis for innovation in flu perception, giving the public a pretense of preparedness that will allow them to accept and actively follow the avian flu recommendations that will follow. With vaccinations still indefinable, the best advice the Center for Disease Control and Prevention or any other public health authority can seem to make is to protect oneself through impeccable hygiene behaviors and a careful distance from others around who seem potentially sick. [...]
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