State Health Department Partners with Supermarkets Statewide to Fight the Flu

Locally, Hannaford, Price Chopper Join DOH in Statewide Flu Campaign

ALBANY, NY, December 20, 2004 – State Health Department Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H, today announced that the Department has partnered with Hannaford and Price Chopper supermarkets to fight the flu.

The new campaign builds on the State's efforts to provide the public with important information on ways to avoid getting the flu and prevent the spread of germs that cause the illness. Along with their groceries, shoppers will take home a Health Department flyer with facts about the flu and helpful suggestions on what someone should do to avoid becoming ill and limit the spread of germs that cause the illness.

"I commend the commitment of Hannaford and Price Chopper supermarkets, their management and staff, for participating in the State's education and awareness campaign to fight the flu and further protect the public health," Dr. Novello said. "Their collective efforts represent an important community service."

Hannaford Vice President for Retail Operations Bob Schools said, "We are pleased to be a part of this timely collaborative effort. Flu prevention education is an important public service and we are glad we can help to communicate the message to our customers and associates."

Hannaford and Price Chopper supermarkets are now distributing the DOH flu education and awareness flyers to shoppers in the capital region. The statewide campaign includes the participation of more than 350 supermarkets operated by Hannaford, King Kullen, Penn Traffic-P&C and Quality Markets, Price Chopper, Tops Markets or Wegman's management. Collectively, the supermarkets are expected to distribute more than four million flyers to shoppers this flu season.

Influenza risk reduction efforts are especially important this year. These include good hygiene, such as hand washing and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and boosting your natural immunity against illness by eating properly, exercising and getting adequate rest and sleep. If you think you are getting the flu, you should stay home from work or school to avoid spreading the infection to others.

New York State is adhering to CDC recommendations for influenza vaccination for the following priority groups:

  • All children aged six to 23 months;
  • Adults aged 65 years and older;
  • Persons aged two to 64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions;
  • All women who will be pregnant during the influenza season;
  • Residents of nursing homes and long term care facilities;
  • Children aged six months to 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy;
  • Health care workers providing direct patient care; and
  • Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children under six months old.

The Department's monitoring for influenza activity and vaccine supplies in New York is ongoing. As the cold and flu season progresses, the state's Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) has been activated to track hospital admissions statewide for influenza-like illness and to assess bed capacity.

The following messages are part of the Department's statewide Influenza education and awareness campaign:

  • For most people the flu is an annoyance, not a severe health threat;
  • People who are in a priority risk group should continue to seek vaccine - be patient, but persistent in your efforts to get a flu shot;
  • If you do not receive a flu shot, there are still ways to reduce your risk — frequent hand washing cannot be overstressed as a simple means to avoid contracting or transmitting the flu.
  • Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze will help reduce the spread of germs that can cause the flu.

Additional information on fighting the flu is available on the State Health Department's website at www.health.ny.gov.