American Lung Association Urges Adults with Lung Disease to Consult their Health Care Provider to Stay Current on Vaccinations National Immunization Awareness Month: "Not Just for Kids Week" is August 24-30

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Children aren't the only segment of our population who can receive vaccinations to help prevent disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination for all adults, but currently, many adults are not following this advice.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and the American Lung Association in partnership with Pfizer are urging adults, especially those with lung disease, to talk with their health care provider about getting vaccinated against serious and preventable diseases such as influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia and shingles.

The risk of contracting potentially life threatening respiratory infections, such as influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia increases sharply among those 65 years and older, including adults with chronic lung diseases such as asthma and COPD and those adults who smoke.

Combined, influenza and pneumonia, including pneumococcal pneumonia were the ninth leading cause of death in the United States in 2010, according to the CDC. It is also estimated by the CDC that 900,000 Americans contract pneumococcal pneumonia annually, causing as many as 400,000 hospitalizations with the average hospital stay lasting longer than five days.

"One of the best things people with lung disease can do to take charge of their health is to talk to their health care provider about getting vaccinated," said Norman Edelman, M.D., Senior Medical Advisor, American Lung Association. "Influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia can have a devastating impact on the lives of those whose lungs are already compromised by asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other chronic respiratory conditions. Vaccines are vital to protecting lung health."

As people age, the immune system becomes less capable of protecting the body from illness. In addition to getting vaccinated, maintaining proper hygiene such as frequent hand washing can also help prevent the spread of illness.

It is advised that people speak with their health care provider regarding specific vaccine recommendations.

"Health care providers play a vital role in educating their patients on the need to keep their immunizations up to date," said Gregg Sylvester, M.D., Vice President, Americas Medical & Scientific Affairs, Pfizer Vaccines. "We're committed to increasing immunization rates to reduce the spread of vaccine-preventable disease and encourage anyone 65 years and older to make it a priority to confirm their vaccination needs with their health care provider."

Together, the American Lung Association and Pfizer are working to achieve the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Healthy People 2020 goal of increased immunization rates.

Visit www.cdc.gov for more information regarding the CDC's recommendations for adult vaccinations, including those for influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia. 

What is Pneumococcal Pneumonia?
Bacteria that live in the upper respiratory system cause pneumococcal pneumonia, which is primarily spread by coughing, and sneezing. Even those who don't exhibit symptoms can spread the bacteria. Common symptoms may include excessive sweating, high fever with shaking and chills, a productive (mucus) cough that persists or gets worse and chest pain.

Understanding Influenza
Influenza or flu is a serious respiratory illness that impacts people of all ages. It is a highly contagious virus that is usually spread through coughing or sneezing.  Symptoms can impact the entire body and may include sudden onset of high fever, headache, muscle aches, a dry cough, sore throat and nasal congestion. There are numerous families and strains of this virus that make annual vaccination important to ensure adequate protection.

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, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.

Pfizer Inc.: Working together for a healthier world™
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products. Our global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines as well as many of the world's best-known consumer health care products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. To learn more, please visit us at www.pfizer.com.

SOURCE American Lung Association



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