Two Iowan companies are donating money to fund a media campaign by the State Health Department aimed at keeping people from getting sick this winter. State Health Department Director Mary Mincer Hansen says the Iowa Farm Bureau and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield are contributing 200-thousand dollars for the campaign in a first of its kind public-private partnership. She says they cooperating on an education campaign designed to keep people from getting ill from not just the flu, but also other illnesses. Doctor Hansen says they’ve found that some of the things they think are basic information haven’t gotten out to everyone. She says along with the media campaign, educations kits will be sent out to all the state’s schools and daycare centers. The campaign will carry the familiar message that you need to cover your mouth when you cough, wash your hands, staying in the best shape you can, eat nutrituous foods and get the proper rest. There is one new piece of advice in fighting the flu and other winter ills. She says in the past they would always tell everyone to sneeze or cough in their hands. Now, she says they’re telling poeple to sneeze or cough in their arms to make it less likely to transfer the flu germs. Hansen says there haven’t been any confirmed cases of the flu in Iowa — although it’s been confirmed in all the neighboring states except South Dakota. She can’t says how rough the flu season might be. She says nationally it’s been a slow start, but she says they can’t predict bad it will be. Hansen says the campaign will run from mid December through mid January.
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