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. In fact, combined with pneumonia, influenza is the nation’s ninth leading cause of death.
The American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza campaign wants West Virginia families to know that vaccination is the best way to help prevent influenza and that influenza vaccine options are available for children, adults and seniors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated this and every year. Despite this recommendation, vaccination rates remain well below public health goals. Fewer than half of the 300 million Americans recommended for immunization are actually getting vaccinated.
Each year in the U.S., 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 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.
More vaccine options
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.
West Virginia’s Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Service, in the Department of Health and Human Resources, has established a website dedicated to providing information on seasonal influenza, including vaccine information. Visit the West Virginia Flu Resource Center to find information for families and caregivers.
Children need extra protection
Parents need to know that children 6 months through 8 years of age receiving a flu shot for the first time need two doses approximately one month apart for optimal protection. Children who receive only the first shot remain at risk for contracting influenza; both doses are needed to protect them as much as possible.
We all are ‘faces’ of influenza
The Faces of Influenza campaign is designed to put a “face” on influenza and encourage vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older — each and every year. The campaign includes national awareness initiatives, and supports the CDC’s universal influenza immunization recommendation to vaccinate everyone 6 months of age and older.
The Lung Association’s www.facesofinfluenza.org website offers the public and health care providers information about influenza and the importance of immunization. Visitors to the site also can view the photographs and stories of the featured “faces” of influenza. For information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-586-4872 or log onto www.lung.org. The American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza educational initiative is made possible through a collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur.