American Lung Association, Local Community Leaders Kick Off 2010-2011 Influenza Season in Cleveland
CLEVELAND, Nov. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Olympic Gold Medalist, former “Dancing with the Stars” winner and Faces of Influenza spokesperson, Kristi Yamaguchi, will join the American Lung Association, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), CVS Caremark and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to kick off the 2010-2011 influenza season in Cleveland at a press briefing and flu clinic held today at Tri-C.
These groups have come together to highlight that everyone is now recommended for an influenza vaccination, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) universal vaccination recommendation. To help illustrate this Tri-C faculty, staff and students have been invited to “lead by example” by receiving an influenza immunization during the clinic.
“It is critical for our college community to get vaccinated against influenza. This is a serious illness that can be easily spread throughout the campuses, to our families and throughout the community,” said Dr. Patricia Gray, Vice President of Healthcare Education Initiatives, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). “We are doing our part by getting vaccinated. It’s the best way to help keep our students, faculty and staff in class and at work.”
Vaccination is safe and effective, and the best way to help prevent influenza and its complications. This year, the seasonal influenza vaccine will include the 2009 pandemic H1N1 strain, so only one vaccine will be needed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the support of leading health experts, now recommends influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older. Each year in the U.S., influenza and its related complications result in approximately 226,000 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths.
Locally, up to 86,000 Cleveland-area residents will suffer from influenza in an average year, yet vaccination rates remain alarmingly low.
The American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza campaign encourages local residents to see themselves and their loved ones among the many “faces” of influenza – people 6 months of age and older who should be immunized against influenza this and every year.
Get Vaccinated Against Influenza
Many community leaders have extended their support of the American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza campaign to reinforce that vaccination is the best protection available against the disease, including:
- Cleveland Department of Public Health
- Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE)
- Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C)
- Cuyahoga County Board of Health
- CVS Caremark
- Shaker Heights Health Department
“Cuyahoga County Board of Health is responsible for the health and well-being of our community by helping to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, such as influenza,” said Cindy Modie, Supervisor Vaccine Services, Preventive Health, Cuyahoga County Board of Health. “We have all seen the devastating impact that influenza can have on individuals, both healthy and high-risk. No one should suffer from influenza when it can be prevented with a vaccination.”
We All Are “Faces” of Influenza
The Faces of Influenza educational program, which includes expanded awareness initiatives nationally and in many major cities, supports the CDC’s universal influenza immunization recommendation to vaccinate everyone 6 months of age and older.
Celebrities, health officials and everyday people have joined the Faces of Influenza campaign, sharing personal stories about their experiences with the disease and encouraging annual influenza vaccination.
The Lung Association is working with other families across the country who have lost loved ones to influenza. These parents, as well as others involved in the program, have joined the Faces of Influenza campaign to help prevent the tragedies they experienced from happening to other families.
Faces of Influenza Awareness Activities
The Faces of Influenza initiative also includes educational materials for the public and health care providers, as well as the national distribution of television and radio public service announcements. The Lung Association has developed a Web site, www.facesofinfluenza.org, where the public and health care providers can find more 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.
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 into contact. Each year in the U.S., influenza and its related complications result in approximately 226,000 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. Vaccination is safe and effective, and the best way to help prevent influenza and its complications.
We all are “faces” of influenza and are at risk of contracting the virus. The CDC, with the support of leading health experts, now recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older be immunized. Vaccination is important for everyone in the U.S., however influenza immunization rates in the highest-risk groups fall far short of public health goals every year. Groups at higher risk of influenza infection or complications include: adults over 50 years of age; children 6 months-18 years of age; pregnant women; anyone with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and diabetes; and residents of long-term care facilities. The CDC also recommends annual immunization for caregivers and household contacts of these high-risk groups, such as relatives and health care providers.( )
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 season, immunization throughout the season into the spring or as long as the influenza virus is in circulation is beneficial because in most seasons, influenza disease doesn’t peak until that time. It only takes about two weeks for the vaccine to protect against the virus.( )
About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lungusa.org.
For More Information
For more information about the Faces of Influenza educational initiative, visit www.facesofinfluenza.org. For information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or log onto www.lungusa.org. The American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza educational initiative is made possible through a collaboration with sanofi pasteur.
Contacts: Dan Minnich 216-987-4807 Daniel.Minnich@tri-c.edu Reena Patel 919-720-4289 RPatel@cooneywaters.com
SOURCE The American Lung Association