Flu fighters | SteamboatToday.com

Flu fighters

Steamboat students honored for their influenza prevention posters

Mike McCollum

Strawberry Park Elementary School student Caroline Wilson, left, and Steamboat Springs Middle School student Hannah Barkey won Mac laptops for their posters as part of the national "Spread the Word - Not the Flu!" contest. The posters aim to educate the public about the dangers of contracting influenza and explain how the public can help prevent a flu outbreak.

— Steamboat Springs students Caroline Wilson and Hannah Barkey don’t take influenza lightly.

Having endured the aches and pains of the flu, the students used their experiences as inspiration for their award-winning posters warning about the importance of receiving an annual flu vaccination. Caroline, a fifth-grader at Strawberry Park Elementary School, and Hannah, an eighth-grader at Steamboat Springs Middle School, were the regional winners in their respective divisions in the nationwide “Spread the Word – Not the Flu!” campaign.

The contest was designed to teach students in third through eighth grades, and their families, about the seriousness of influenza. Hannah and Caroline said they hope their posters can make a difference by helping families and communities learn about influenza and how to prevent its spread.

Caroline’s “Protect Yourself” poster was far from subtle.

Seven soldiers are depicted with swords, bows and arrows, lassos and baseball bats attacking a creature representing the flu. One soldier asks, “Why don’t you just give up, influenza?” Another soldier asserts, “Yeah, we are gonna win anyway.”

“The flu bug was scared, and there were tips in the two corners of the poster,” Caroline said. “My favorite tip was, ‘Don’t pick your nose and eat your boogers.'”

Recommended Stories For You

She also advises people to wash fruits and vegetables, wash hands after going to the bathroom and cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing.

Hannah’s “Follow the Path to Flu Prevention” poster displays a five-step program to prevent the flu. Step one is to avoid spreading germs, and the following steps are to stay active, get a vaccination for Influenza, make sure to get plenty of sleep and eat a balanced diet.

“I am really interested in being a doctor and (in) science overall,” said Hannah, who also enjoys art and considers herself a creative person.

“I already knew about the flu and I’ve had the flu before, but I also researched it quite a bit,” she said.

Hannah and Caroline said winning a MacBook laptop for placing first in the region’s middle school and elementary school divisions was the icing on the cake.

“I’m really excited because I really wanted a laptop,” Caroline said. “It would have cost a lot of money to get a laptop because we just went to Disneyland and that was a lot of money.”

The students have yet to receive their laptops, but Caroline noted that she is anxious for the day when she comes home from school and a big box is waiting on her doorstep.

“My older sister didn’t think I would actually get the MacBook,” she said. “She was like, ‘Caroline, I doubt you are going to win.’ Ha, proved you wrong.”

On the ‘Net

To learn more about the “Spread the Word – Not the Flu” program, visit http://www.Spreadtheword…