This Holiday, Protect Health of Loved Ones and Yourself with Flu Vaccination, says American Lung Association
During National Influenza Vaccination Week, American Lung Association encourages everyone to speak with their healthcare provider about flu vaccine to protect health
(December 6, 2016) - CHICAGO
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With the influenza (flu) season approaching, the American Lung Association encourages everyone six months and older to protect themselves and others from the flu by practicing good health habits and getting your annual vaccination. During National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 4–10, speak to your healthcare provider about the flu vaccine.
"The flu season occurs every year, and since the influenza virus is constantly changing, it's important to get an annual vaccination each and every year to protect yourself and those you love from the flu," said American Lung Association Volunteer Spokesperson Deepika Polineni, M.D.
Flu (Influenza) is usually spread through coughing or sneezing, or from surfaces that have the virus on them. The flu can cause fever, sore throat, cough, chills and muscle aches. Serious complications may include pneumonia, inflammation of the heart and death. While the flu can be uncomfortable for some, according to Polineni, for others the flu can have serious results and be deadly.
Influenza can be a very serious illness for those at high risk, including:
- Chronic lung disease such as asthma, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis
- Heart disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Diabetes or other chronic metabolic disorders
- Diseases (HIV, AIDS) or treatments (steroids, chemotherapy) that weaken the immune system
- Children and adolescents who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
- Older adults
"We are all at risk for getting and spreading the flu, but the reality is that while some people feel pretty miserable for a week or two and then recover, others are at serious risk of complications and may suffer for quite awhile or even be hospitalized," Polineni said. "Everyone should get the flu shot not only for their own health but to protect those around them, especially with the approaching holiday season where you'll see loved ones who might be more susceptible to the effects of the flu."
In addition to the vaccination, Polineni also recommends washing hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water, and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing. And if you're sick, stay home from work, school and public places, as germs can still spread up to seven days after getting sick.
"It's always better to help prevent a disease than to treat it after it occurs," said Polineni. "The flu can have a devastating impact on the lives of those whose lungs are already compromised by asthma, COPD, interstitial lung disease, bronchiectasis, and other chronic respiratory conditions."
For more information on lung disease and lung health, visit Lung.org or call the American Lung Association's Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA. Journalists interested in scheduling a media interview about the flu and flu prevention or lung health with an expert may call Allison MacMunn at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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