CHICAGO, IL | September 28, 2021
With flu season on the horizon, the American Lung Association and Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc., are working together to inform everyone on how to best keep themselves, and others, healthy. Through their new campaign called “Fend Off Flu,” the organizations will provide targeted toolkits and tips to prevent the flu to healthcare providers, workplaces and caregivers for adults over 65, with a focus on disparately affected communities.
Influenza (the flu) is a serious and highly contagious disease that can have severe health consequences for all, and especially for vulnerable adults 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions. The partnership between both organizations is supporting the creation of educational digital toolkits tailored to specific audiences, providing access to webinars and online resources aimed at increasing flu vaccine confidence, decreasing adult influenza illness and helping to influence individuals to receive their vaccine as part of their wellness routine for years to come. The public will have access to online resources regarding the importance of vaccination and how to stay healthy this flu season.
“Because of the COVID pandemic, 2020 – 2021 had a relatively mild flu season,” said American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer. “In an ever-changing health landscape, we could see a spike in influenza cases this year, further burdening the healthcare system. It’s more important than ever to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and those around you. That’s why we’ve partnered with Anthem Foundation to encourage action to keep Americans healthy.”
During the 2019 – 2020 flu season, it is estimated the flu sent approximately 380,000 people to the hospital with related complications and caused an estimated 20,000 deaths in the United States, which is why practicing caution and getting vaccinated should be a priority. While daily safety measures will help, the flu vaccine is the best protection against contracting and spreading the illness.
“Between historic flu trends and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this flu season presents unique challenges as infection rates of both viruses are expected to rise,” said Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., Chief Health Officer at Anthem, Inc. “In a recent nation-wide survey conducted by Anthem, Inc., it was found that only half of adults and children (52%) received a flu shot last season. In an effort to increase flu vaccination rates this year, our partnership with the American Lung Association will provide digital educational tools and resources where workplaces and the general public can be empowered to take control of their health and help minimize their risk, and the risk of others, of contracting the flu.”
Flu vaccinations have been in use for more than 50 years, with hundreds of millions of Americans safely receiving them. It’s recommended that everyone over six months of age receive a flu vaccine.
“Not only will getting a flu shot help reduce the chance of catching the illness, it will also help reduce the severity if it’s contracted,” added American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer Albert Rizzo, M.D. “Especially for people with underlying conditions, the flu can turn into a serious, even deadly, illness. It’s important to get vaccinated to protect yourself and others around you.”
The risk of contracting the flu can be alleviated by receiving safe, effective and routine vaccinations, by staying home if sick, frequent handwashing or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoid touching their own eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces.
Lung.org/Fend-Off-Flu learn more about avoiding the flu this year.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.
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