Familydoctor.org has created an online communications toolkit(familydoctor.org) to help family physicians amplify key flu prevention messages to their patients this influenza season.
The new digital messaging guide features sample social media posts, GIFs, videos and other content that family physicians can use on their own social media and other communication platforms.
As part of this campaign, family physicians are encouraged to use the hashtag #FamilyDocsFightFlu with their posts on Facebook, Twitter and in emails.
Sample posts for Facebook and Twitter include a variety of messages that link to specific webpages in the toolkit, such as, "By getting a flu shot, you protect the people around you from getting sick. Everyone 6 months and older should be vaccinated. #FamilyDocsFightFlu http://bit.ly/2yTJcTR(bit.ly)"
Another sample post reads, "Flu shots have been given to millions of pregnant women for many years with positive outcomes. Protect yourself and your baby by getting your flu shot. #FamilyDocsFightFlu http://bit.ly/2Rt5na3(bit.ly)"
Family physicians also can use the toolkit to help share their own stories on social media about what preventive care means for their patients and why flu prevention is critical to ensuring that families, friends and neighbors stay healthy.
Among videos featured in the toolkit is one promoting Familydoctor.org's Symptom Checker,(youtu.be) which allows patients to list their symptoms to help identify possible causes of their health issue.
The toolkit also provides links to flu-specific Familydoctor.org articles that family physicians can share with patients and the public, such as "Flu Myths(familydoctor.org)" and "Is It a Cold or the Flu?(familydoctor.org)"
Jennifer Frost, M.D., medical director for the AAFP's Health of the Public and Science Division, told AAFP News it's important for family physicians to continue to remind patients that it's never too late to get a flu shot any time during the influenza season.
"The influenza virus is usually around through March, so patients will still get several months of protection," she said. "Last year was a severe flu season, with 959,000 hospitalizations and 79,400 deaths. The best way to prevent the flu and its serious complications is by getting vaccinated."
Frost said in addition to Familydoctor.org's communication resources, the CDC offers "vast amounts of information about immunizations and vaccine-preventable illnesses" such as influenza(www.cdc.gov) on its website, including guidance specifically for health professionals.(www.cdc.gov)
The AAFP also has some outstanding resources on immunizations overall, she added.
Finally, Frost noted that the AAFP and Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) joined forces to produce the Shots by AAFP/STFM app, which is especially practical at the point of care. Shots by AAFP/STFM is available as an applet in the AAFP mobile app, as well as in a stand-alone version.(www.stfm.org)
Related AAFP News Coverage
CDC Provides Influenza Updates, New Clinician Resources