How to Avoid Flu-Related Illness and Deaths

In recognition of Family Vaccination Day today, Dec.6, Families Fighting Flu (FFF) encourages everyone to take an active role in keeping their family healthy this season by getting vaccinated against the flu. 

To educate the public about the importance of influenza vaccination, FFF is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the fourth year during National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), Dec. 5-11, 2010 – an observance established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination after the holiday season and into January and beyond.

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Last year, the CDC estimated that more than 12,000 people in the U.S. died from the flu – 1,200 of them were children. 

In addition, an estimated 87,000 children were hospitalized due to influenza. Now, the CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year, as vaccination is the single best way to prevent the flu in people of all ages.

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Hand washing is recognized as a good way to prevent cold and flu. It is stated that Americans spend more than $3.6 billion each year on cold remedies, but neglect a simple action that could help ward off cold and flu in the first place. It is washing and drying their hands. (Read: Do You Know the Health Risks of Wet Hands?)

“Flu viruses are unpredictable as they are constantly changing. Each flu season, different flu viruses can spread, and they can affect people differently,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC. 

“Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu and spread it to family and friends. This is why the first and most important step in protecting against the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season.”

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In a national radio Public Service Announcement (PSA) airing now and throughout the rest of flu season, FFF member Julie Moise talks about how she lost her son, Ian, to the flu merely 30 hours after he showed his first symptom of being sick. In the PSA, Julie urges parents to get their families vaccinated every year.

[ Also Read: Julie Bowen Joins the Influenza Campaign ] 

To further elevate the importance of vaccination, FFF is asking people to visit their Facebook page during NIVW and post when and where they were vaccinated against the flu. 

Users can also post and share with their friends a “Vaccinated Against Flu” badge to show others that they’ve made flu vaccination a priority.

Families Fighting Flu is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization made up of families and health care practitioners.

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Rakesh Raman