Faces of Influenza: We all are ‘FACES’ of Influenza: learn more about annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older.
We all are ‘faces’ of influenza:
Health officials recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older receive an influenza vaccination each and every year. Most likely, this includes you and your entire family. Influenza is a serious respiratory illness that is easily spread and can lead to severe complications even death for you or someone with whom you come in contact. Combined with pneumonia, influenza is the nation’s ninth leading cause of death.
Despite these numbers, many of us think that influenza won’t affect our families. The American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza educational initiative shows why protecting your family against the serious virus is so important.
The ‘faces’ of influenza-people 6 months of age and older who should be vaccinated against influenza this and every year-feature faces of celebrities, public health officials and everyday people. Each shares their experience with influenza and why annual influenza vaccination is a priority for their families. Vaccination is safe and effective and the best way to help prevent influenza.
Face the facts of Influenza:
Anyone can influenza. In fact, up to 1 in 5 people in the US may get virus each influenza season.
Hygiene measures such as washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes and isolating sick people can help to prevent the spread of disease but vaccination is the best way to help prevent influenza.
Although mild side effects from vaccination are possible (eg mild local soreness or redness, etc.) a person can not get influenza from the flu shot. Influenza is serious. Get vaccinated.
Who is most at risk?
We all are at risk for contracting influenza. The results for some will be lost work or school days but for those at highest risk, the results can be more serious.
Each year in the US on average, influenza and its related complications result in approximately 226,000 hospitalizations.
Depending on virus severity during the influenza season, deaths can range from 3000 to a high of about 49,000 people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages the following groups to make vaccination a priority, since they may have an increased risk of complications.
*Those 65 years of age and older are hardest hit by influenza. Nearly 90% of deaths caused by influenza. This includes people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) heart disease and diabetes.
*Children typically experience the highest rates of influenza infection each year. Infants and children can develop severe cases and complications such as pneumonia, seizures and ear or sinus infections.
Vaccine Options this influenza season:
Influenza vaccine options are available for children, adults and seniors.
Talk to your health care provider to find out more about the vaccine option that’s right for you and your family this influenza season.
Who should be Immunized?
The CDC with the support of leading health experts recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older be immunized.
Vaccination is important for everyone in the US, however influenza immunization rates in the highest risk groups fall far short of public health goals every year. Groups at higher risk of developing influenza-related complications include:
*People 50 years of age and older.
*People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, diabetes and others.
*Residents of long-term care facilities and nursing homes.
Additionally, those who come into close contact with high-risk groups should get vaccinated, not only to help protect themselves against influenza but also to help avoid spreading the disease to more vulnerable populations. They include:
*Households contacts and caregivers of anyone in a high-risk group, including parents, siblings, grandparents, babysitters and child care providers.
*Health care personnel.
Note: Children 6 months through 8 years of age receiving a flu shot for the first time need 2 doses approximately 1 month apart for optimal protection.
Vaccination-The best Protection: Influenza vaccine options are available for children, adults and seniors. Talk to your health care provider to find out more about the vaccine option that’s right for you and your family this influenza season.
When should I receive an Influenza Immunization?
Annual immunization is the best way to help protect against influenza. We at the America Lung Association urge you and your loved ones to get vaccinated as soon as you can, whenever that is during the influenza season. You should be immunized as soon as vaccine is available in the late summer or early fall. If you didn’t have a chance to obtain influenza vaccine early in the influenza season, immunization into the spring or as long as the influenza virus is in circulation is beneficial. This is because in most seasons, influenza activity doesn’t peak until winter or early spring. In fact as long as influenza viruses are in circulation, it’s a good idea to get vaccinated. It only takes about 2 weeks for the vaccine to protect against the virus.
Who should not be Immunized?
Some people should not be vaccinated or should first talk with their health care provider. These include:
*People with severe allergies to eggs.
*People who have had a severe allergic reaction to a past influenza vaccination.
*Children younger than 6 months of age because no vaccine is licensed yet for this age group.
Vaccine is safe and effective and the best way to help prevent the flu, especially for those who cannot receive vaccine, such as children younger than 6 months of age.
Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the ‘Faces of Influenza’ pamphlet and they get full credit for the work. This was put out by the American Lung Association 1-800-LUNGUSA. Please call the above number for more information.