"Sesame Street's" Gordon and Elmo are spreading the word about healthy habits to protect families from the H1N1 flu virus. In a new public service campaign from the Department of Health & Human Services, the Ad Council and Sesame Workshop, Elmo and Gordon demonstrate such healthy habits as washing your hands and sneezing into the bend of your arm.
The 15- and 30-second spots are being distributed nationally today and will be supported in airtime donated by TV stations.
The PSAs, created by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind "Sesame Street," encourage audiences to visit www.cdc.gov for more information. The spots are an extension of Sesame Workshop's Healthy Habits for Life initiative, which promotes an early foundation of healthy habits for children.
"We are doing everything we can to protect public health and teach children how they can stay healthy and safe," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in announcing the effort. "Elmo, Gordon, Sesame Workshop and the Ad Council are delivering an important message to our kids."
So far, more than 5,700 cases of H1N1 have been reported in the U.S., with nine deaths associated with infection. Experts believe H1N1 spreads the same way that seasonal influenza viruses do, mainly through the coughs and sneezes of people who are sick with the virus.