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Kristi Yamaguchi, American Lung Association and Boys & Girls Clubs Kick Off 2010-2011 Influenza Season in Sacramento

November 10, 2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 10, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Olympic Gold Medalist, former “Dancing with the Stars” winner and Faces of Influenza spokesperson, Kristi Yamaguchi joins the American Lung Association in California and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento to kick off the 2010-2011 influenza season at a flu clinic held today at the Raley Branch location of the Boys and Girls Clubs.

Locally, up to 89,306 Sacramento-area residents will suffer from influenza in an average year. 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.

Campaign spokesperson and Olympic Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi will be on-site at the clinic to help spread the word about influenza immunization. Kristi knows the best way to help protect yourself against influenza and its complications is to get vaccinated, and she hopes to stress the importance of annual vaccination to all Sacramento residents.

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. Influenza and its complications result in an estimated 226,000 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths annually.

“We all are ‘faces’ of influenza and it is the responsibility of every Sacramento resident to talk to your health care provider about vaccination,” said Dean Blumberg, MD, Associate Professor, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “Many people are affected by seasonal influenza every year and don’t realize that getting vaccinated is an easy way to protect their health, their family’s health and the health of our community.”

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.

Vaccination is safe and effective, and the best way to help prevent influenza and its complications. This year, the seasonal influenza vaccine includes the 2009 pandemic H1N1 strain, so only one influenza vaccine is needed.

Get Vaccinated Against Seasonal Influenza

Many community organizations and leaders are partnering with the American Lung Association in California’s Faces of Influenza campaign to reinforce that vaccination is the best protection available against the disease, including:

  • The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento
  • Maxim Health Systems
  • Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones
  • California State Assemblyman Roger Niello
  • Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Cohn
  • Councilmember Lauren Hammond
  • Councilmember Robert King Fong
  • Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan
  • Supervisor Susan Peters from the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors
  • Sacramento State University President Alex Gonzalez

Children experience the highest rates of influenza infection each year. In fact, 341 children died from influenza-related complications from April 2009 through mid May 2010. Although everyone 6 months of age and older is recommended for annual vaccination, it is extremely important that all children are vaccinated to stay protected.

“At the Boys & Girls Clubs we want all children to remain as healthy as possible,” said Rebecca Shubin, Director of the Raley Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento. “That is why we are working on this initiative with the American Lung Association to help make sure the kids, as well as all Sacramento residents, are protected against influenza this season.”

We All Are “Faces” of Influenza

The Faces of Influenza campaign, 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.

About Seasonal 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. Influenza and its complications result in an estimated 226,000 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths annually. 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.


    MEDIA CONTACT:
    Maria Bernabe
    American Lung Association
    213-384-5864
    mbernabe@alac.org

SOURCE American Lung Association of California


Source: newswire



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