Thursday, April 10, 2008

CDC Web site

Geographic spread of influenza for the week ending March 29, 2008, Weekly US Map, Influenza Summary Update, Centers for Disease Control

I have been out for the last day and a half with a bug: I have aching--like I just worked out extra hard when, in actuality, moving from my couch to my kitchen for more OJ has me exhausted--, and fever, a headache that could make you cry, and stuffiness. Is it a cold or is it the flu? The flu is difficult to diagnose by its symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Like any good librarian, I spend my sick time reading about what I possibly have, what I should do about it, and what I should have done to prevent it. (If you do this as well, consider librarianship as a career.) The CDC Web site has improved greatly in usability since the last time I searched it, and the available information is impressive. For example, the section on influenza contains a basic overview, fact sheets, and posters. In addition, information is tailored to specific groups, such as adults with asthma, schools, and more. Health professionals also have their own section. Surveys and statistics abound. I learned that in 2007, "The percentage of males observed washing their hands fell from 75% in 2005 to 66% in 2007."* This tidbit came from a link that the CDC included in the section on better health. In addition, I learned that if I do have the flu, I am still contagious and shouldn't be here at the library. Unfortunately, there is no section on what to do when several members of the staff are sick, and coverage is needed. So here I am trying not to breathe on the students that I help, and washing my hands every so often. But the good news is that I have discovered that whether you are looking for prevention, cures, images for presentations, or disease information, CDC is a one-stop shop.

*Harris Interactive. (2007). 2007 Handwashing Survey Fact Sheet. Retrieved 10 April 2008, from

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