Healthcare: On the Agenda - Kids told how to avoid swine flu

In a nutshell

Health Secretary Andy Burnham and chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson visited a school last week to advise children on the best way to sneeze. The pair demonstrated the latest technique to counter swine flu, which is to sneeze into your elbow if you do not have a handkerchief.

Who was involved?

Burnham and Donaldson were at a north London primary school with Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. The visit coincided with children returning to school following the summer break.

Why is this significant?

The trio were urging schools to adopt basic hygiene measures in a bid to curb the spread of an expected second wave of swine flu this autumn. Donaldson said: 'Children are sometimes described as the "super spreaders of flu".' He added that if children were educated to properly cover their noses and mouths when they coughed or sneezed, it could help to slow the spread of infection. Balls said the policy was now preventive hygiene rather than closing schools.

Media coverage

The story was covered in much of the national press. The Daily Mail ran the story on page 12 with the headline: 'Ministers show how to keep swine flu at arm's length', while BBC News ran a video of the visit on its website.

PR support

The Department of Health handled media calls following the event, but photos were taken by the Press Association.

19k - Number of swine flu-related deaths predicted.

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