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Introduction: Comparing tailored e-mail messaging to mailed postcards promoting seasonal influenza immunizations for dorm dwelling college freshmen is important for early health prevention and promotion. Dorm dwelling college students are particularly at risk of viral diseases due to the close proximity of their living conditions. Understanding influences with health care decisions and practices is therefore also important with the college dorm dwelling population. Method: A convenience sample was used to collect data from influenza clinic participants on a Midwest college campus over three seasonal flu periods. A Health-E card was sent in 2010 via university issued student e-mail accounts informing students how to prevent influenza through immunization. Postcards were sent in 2008 and 2009 solely to dorm dwellers and parents of college freshmen. Short questionnaires gathered demographic data from participants at flu clinics for comparison. Results: In 2008 and 2009, 8% and 14% of dorm dwelling college freshmen participated in flu clinic following printed media sent to them and their parents. In 2010, only 3% of the same population participated in campus flu clinics following tailored e-mail messages sent via campus listserv. Discussion: Efficiency of social media e-mail messaging was established, however effectiveness of tailored e-mail to college freshmen was not supported. Family was most influential for the seasonal influenza in the third year of the study. Further study is needed to determine efficacy of social media intervention for college students and parental or family influence.



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