Flu in epidemic proportions over parts of the U.S., PF Patients, others with Chronic Lung Disease at 2.5 times higher risk of hospitalization due to flu
CULVER CITY, Calif., Jan. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF) announced today it is joining forces with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in spreading the word to Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) patients, families and caregivers about the need for immunizations, most urgently, the flu shot. The flu has been seen in most every state and is considered epidemic in some areas of the country.
According to the CDC, millions of Americans who suffer from chronic lung disease are at increased risk of severe illness from the flu. An annual flu shot is an important part of protecting health and patients with PF and other chronic lung diseases who are 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalized due to the flu, says the CDC.
Not only should patients receive the flu shot, the CDC says anyone 6 months or older who is around patients with chronic lung disease are also recommended to get a flu shot.
Flu is a serious disease, especially for people with certain chronic health conditions, says the CDC (www.cdc.gov/flu). On average, 220,000 people are hospitalized and between 3,000 and 49,000 flu-related deaths may occur each flu season in the U.S.
"We value the CDC's recommendations for flu shots for our patients," said Mishka Michon, CEO of the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. "PF patients have lungs that are already fragile and many of them can't afford to be exposed to additional risk."
Some of the most common severe complications of flu include life-threatening respiratory issues. Symptoms of flu can include fever, headache, tiredness, cough and muscle aches. Vomiting and diarrhea also can occur, although these symptoms are more common in children.
While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three flu viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. To be protected, people need to get vaccinated each year. The flu vaccine is safe and cannot give you the flu.
Importantly, people with chronic conditions should get the flu shot and not the nasal spray. Flu shots are offered in many locations, including doctor's offices, clinics, health departments, retail stores, pharmacies, and health centers, as well as by many employers and schools.
The flu shot is covered under Medicare Part B and by most other insurance plans. This means most people will not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs when getting vaccinated. Patients should check with their insurer regarding questions of costs.
In addition to the flu vaccine, patients should talk to their healthcare provider about other vaccines that they might need. To help control chronic lung disease, vaccines are a part of disease management.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu for information on flu vaccine and www.cdc.gov/vaccines for information on all vaccines, or contact CDC at 1-00-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636). To find out where you can get a flu vaccine in your area visit www.flu.gov.
The CPF also recommends physicians and patients download a patient information resource developed by pulmonologists and the American Thoracic Society that is updated for the 2012/2013 flu season. Click here for to read and share the education piece: http://patients.thoracic.org/information-series/en/resources/influenza-the-flu.pdf
The Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis works on a national scale to support research for a cure and to assist patients. For information or to support this important work, please contact the CPF at 1-888-222-8541, or visit www.coalitionforpf.org or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.
About Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF)
Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) is a lung disorder characterized by a progressive scarring – known as fibrosis -- and deterioration of the lungs, which slowly robs its victims of their ability to breathe. Approximately 128,000 Americans suffer from PF, and there is currently no known cause or cure. An estimated 48,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. PF is difficult to diagnose and an estimated two-thirds of patients die within five years of diagnosis. Sometimes PF can be linked to a particular cause, such as certain environmental exposures, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, residual infection, or autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis. However, in many instances, no known cause can be established. When this is the case, it is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
About the CPF
The CPF is a 501C(3) nonprofit organization, founded in 2001 to accelerate research efforts leading to a cure for pulmonary fibrosis (PF), while educating, supporting, and advocating for the community of patients, families, and medical professionals fighting this disease. The CPF funds promising research into new approaches to treat and cure PF; provides patients and families with comprehensive education materials, resources, and hope; serves as a voice for national advocacy of PF issues; and works to improve awareness of PF in the medical community as well as the general public. The CPF's nonprofit partners include many of the most respected medical centers and healthcare organizations in the U.S. With more than 26,000 members nationwide, the CPF is the largest nonprofit organization in the U.S. dedicated to advocating for those with PF. For more information please visit www.coalitionforpf.org or call (888) 222-8541.
SOURCE Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis