ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/-- What unwelcomed visitor comes around every year, even though most people are unaware of how to avoid it or how serious it can be? If you guessed that the "intruder" is the flu, then you're in the know. But, unfortunately, many people are unaware of the dangers this potentially deadly disease can pose. To address the need for education, three leading health organizations, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP), HealthyWomen and Families Fighting Flu announced today a new collaboration, DO YOU KNOW the Flu, designed to elevate awareness about influenza (also known as the flu) and provide customized educational resources for healthcare professionals and families.
"As pediatric nurse practitioners and pediatric-focused providers, our priority is to provide the best possible preventative care for children and their families," said NAPNAP President Laura Searcy, MN, APRN, PPCNP-BC. "We are in a unique position to educate families about the seriousness of the flu and the significant benefits of immunizing the entire family against flu every year."
Flu is an unpredictable disease that can be serious for everyone—even healthy people. Children are of particular concern, because they are at higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu, including hospitalization and even death.1 In fact, between 2004 and 2016, more than 1,350 children died due to the flu in the United States.2,3,4
"At HealthyWomen, we understand that women often take the lead in caring for their family's health, making about 80 percent of the family health care decisions," says Beth Battaglino, RN, and CEO of HealthyWomen. "That's why we encourage women to take the necessary precautions—including getting their flu vaccinations—to ensure that they protect their own health, as well as the health of their family, this flu season."
Through this unique collaboration, each organization will contribute different insights, viewpoints and expertise to help inform this multichannel educational program. Focused on reaching healthcare professionals and families in engaging formats, including social, traditional and digital media, as well as print materials, the program leverages the fact that most people don't "know" the flu—the statistics, dangers, myths versus facts, and the best ways to avoid catching (or infecting others with) this serious disease.
"Families Fighting Flu is excited to collaborate with the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and HealthyWomen on this very important educational initiative," said Serese Marotta, Chief Operating Officer of Families Fighting Flu. "Our member families have all experienced the devastating effects of the flu firsthand. We're here to lend our personal stories and connections to the flu, as well as our voices to help others understand that flu can be deadly, and the best way to protect yourself and everyone around you is by receiving an annual flu vaccination."
Beginning immediately, flu education resources, including a DO YOU KNOW the Flu infographic and #DYKtheFlu Fact Sheet are available at www.familiesfightingflu.org, with new educational offerings becoming available in upcoming months and for next flu season, too.
About the Flu
Influenza, or the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads via droplets made when someone coughs, talks or sneezes.1,5 The flu is often confused with the common cold, but flu symptoms tend to develop quickly and are usually more severe than the typical sneezing and congestion associated with a cold.1 The flu vaccine is the best preventative measure available to help protect against flu, and millions of people have safely received the flu vaccine for more than 50 years.6 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months of age and older receive an annual flu vaccination, unless instructed otherwise by your healthcare professional.
How Well … DO YOU KNOW the Flu?
#DYKtheFlu Fact #1: You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine.
In fact, the flu vaccine (administered via a needle) does not carry a live virus; it has either been "inactivated" or does not contain a flu virus at all.7
#DYKtheFlu Fact #2: The flu is not just a bad cold—it is a serious disease.
Flu is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract (nose, throat and lungs) that can also affect many other organs in your body and cause serious complications or even death.1 In the United States, about 200,000 people are hospitalized each year because of the flu,8 which includes approximately 20,000 children under the age of five.9 The flu causes more deaths each year than any other vaccine-preventable disease.10 Sadly, children—even otherwise healthy children—can die from the flu.9,10
#DYKtheFlu Fact #3: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older.
Annual flu vaccination is critical because flu strains can change from year to year, and the flu vaccine is updated annually to protect against the anticipated circulating strains.11 Even in a mild flu season, it's important to get your flu vaccination. It's also important to practice other healthy habits, such as washing hands often; covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your elbow (instead of your hand); avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth; and staying away from sick people.8
#DYKtheFlu Fact #4: The potential side effects of the flu vaccine are not worse than the flu itself.
The flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. The most common side effects of flu vaccination may include soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given, which can last one to two days. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur, but these symptoms are much less severe than symptoms caused by the flu.7
#DYKtheFlu Fact #5: The flu vaccine is safe and represents our best weapon in the fight against flu.
According to the CDC, the flu vaccine is safe and is the best preventative measure we have to protect ourselves, our families and our communities against this serious and potentially deadly disease. The flu vaccine has been available in the United States for more than 50 years, and there is extensive research proving its safety. The CDC, along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, regularly monitor the safety of vaccines used in the United States.12
About the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation's only professional association for pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) and their fellow pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,500 healthcare practitioners with 18 special interest groups and 50 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children's health since 1973 and was the first APRN society in the United States. Visit www.NAPNAP.org for provider and family resources.
For more than 25 years, HealthyWomen has inspired and empowered millions of women to take a proactive role in their health. A progressive and unique women's health not-for-profit, HealthyWomen combines a 24/7 online health media platform with award-winning education and advocacy campaigns. HealthyWomen's web destination engages with readers and health care providers alike and provides valuable health information that educates women and guides them through the various ages and stages of life. For more information on HealthyWomen, visit www.healthywomen.org.
About Families Fighting Flu
Families Fighting Flu is a national, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) volunteer-based advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the lives of children and their families. Our organization includes families whose children have suffered serious medical complications or died from influenza, as well as other advocates and healthcare practitioners committed to flu prevention. In honor of our children, we work to increase awareness about the seriousness of the disease and to reduce the number of childhood hospitalizations and deaths caused by the flu each year by increasing vaccination rates.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu Symptoms & Complications. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/complications.htm. Accessed October 28, 2016.
2 FluView. Influenza Associated Pediatric Mortality 2004-2008. Available at: http://gis.cdc.gov/GRASP/Fluview/PedFluDeath.html. Accessed November 8, 2016.
3 FluView. Influenza Associated Pediatric Mortality 2008-2012. Available at: http://gis.cdc.gov/GRASP/Fluview/PedFluDeath.html. Accessed November 8, 2016.
4 FluView. Influenza Associated Pediatric Mortality 2012-2016. Available at: http://gis.cdc.gov/GRASP/Fluview/PedFluDeath.html. Accessed November 8, 2016.
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Key Facts About Influenza (Flu). Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm. Accessed October 28, 2016.
6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza (Flu) Vaccine Safety. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/vaccinesafety.htm. Accessed November 23, 2016.
7 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Misconceptions about Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm. Accessed November 22, 2016.
8 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Protect Yourself & Your Family Against the Flu. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/features/fluprevention/index.html. Accessed October 28, 2016.
9 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children, the Flu, and the Flu Vaccine. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/children.htm. Accessed October 28, 2016.
10 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Part One Vaccine-Preventable Diseases and Childhood Vaccines. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/tools/parents-guide/downloads/parents-guide-part1.pdf. Accessed November 8, 2016.
11 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Frequently Asked Flu Questions 2016-2017 Influenza Season. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2016-2017.htm. Accessed October 28, 2016.
12 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your Best Shot is the Flu Shot. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/features/flu/index.html. Accessed October 28, 2016.
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SOURCE Families Fighting Flu