MIAMI, Dec. 6, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Former Miami Heat Player Jamal Mashburn will join the American Lung Association of Florida-South Area, the Early Development of Global Education (EDGE) and Walgreens Pharmacy at a flu vaccination clinic today at 2:30 p.m. at Roby George Park. The clinic, which is being held as part of the American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza campaign, will benefit underprivileged children, including migrant children, children of human trafficking victims and children of domestic abuse, who may not otherwise receive a flu shot this year.
Local Miami residents and spokespersons for the Faces of Influenza campaign, David Schwartz and his daughter Junior Orange Bowl Queen Leia, will also be on-site to speak about the importance of influenza vaccination for asthmatics and how devastating the disease can be for others who fall into similar high-risk groups. They will be joined by local celebrity, International Wildlife Explorer and Photographer, Ron Magill.
These individuals and groups are working together to help to raise awareness about the importance of influenza vaccination in support of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) (December 5–11, 2010) – a national week of observance designed to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination throughout the holiday season into January and beyond.
Influenza is a serious respiratory illness that is easily spread and can lead to severe complications, even death, for you or someone with whom you come in contact. Influenza and its complications result in an estimated 226,000 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths annually. In fact, up to 475,000 Miami area residents will suffer from influenza in an average year.
"When I was playing basketball, it was important that I stayed healthy because my entire team was counting on me," said Mashburn. "I got vaccinated to help protect myself from not only getting the flu, but also from spreading it to my teammates. If one person on the team contracted influenza it could spread to others, and that wasn't a risk I was willing to take."
The American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza campaign encourages local residents to see themselves and their loved ones among the many "faces" of influenza – people 6 months of age and older who should be immunized against influenza this and every year.
Vaccination is safe and effective, and the best way to help prevent influenza and its complications. This year, the seasonal influenza vaccine includes the 2009 pandemic H1N1 strain, so only one influenza vaccine is needed.
Get Vaccinated Against Seasonal Influenza
Many community organizations and leaders are partnering with the American Lung Association of Florida-South Area Faces of Influenza campaign to reinforce that vaccination is the best protection available against the disease, including:
- Early Development of Global Education (EDGE)
- Walgreens Pharmacy
- Allied Paper Company
- City of Homestead
- Hispanic Police Officers Association
- South Dade Weed and Seed
- Alliance for Aging, Inc.
We All Are "Faces" of Influenza
The Faces of Influenza campaign, which includes expanded awareness initiatives nationally and in many major cities, supports the CDC's universal influenza immunization recommendation to vaccinate everyone 6 months of age and older.
Celebrities, health officials and everyday people have joined the Faces of Influenza campaign, sharing personal stories about their experiences with the disease and encouraging annual influenza vaccination.
The Lung Association is working with families across the country that have lost loved ones to influenza. These parents, as well as others involved in the program, have joined the Faces of Influenza campaign to help prevent the tragedies they experienced from happening to other families.
Faces of Influenza Awareness Activities
The Faces of Influenza initiative also includes educational materials for the public and health care providers, as well as the national distribution of television and radio public service announcements. The Lung Association has developed a Web site, www.facesofinfluenza.org, where the public and health care providers can find more information about influenza and the importance of immunization. Visitors to the site also can view the photographs and stories of the featured "faces" of influenza.
About Seasonal Influenza
Influenza is a serious respiratory illness that is easily spread and can lead to severe complications, even death, for you or someone with whom you come into contact. Influenza and its complications result in an estimated 226,000 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths annually. Vaccination is safe and effective, and the best way to help prevent influenza and its complications.
We all are "faces" of influenza and are at risk of contracting the virus. The CDC, with the support of leading health experts, now recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older be immunized. Vaccination is important for everyone in the U.S., however influenza immunization rates in the highest-risk groups fall far short of public health goals every year. Groups at higher risk of influenza infection or complications include: adults over 50 years of age; children 6 months-18 years of age; pregnant women; anyone with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and diabetes; and residents of long-term care facilities. The CDC also recommends annual immunization for caregivers and household contacts of these high-risk groups, such as relatives and health care providers.
You should be immunized as soon as vaccine is available in the late summer or early fall. If you didn't have a chance to obtain influenza vaccine early in the season, immunization throughout the season into the spring or as long as the influenza virus is in circulation is beneficial because in most seasons, influenza disease doesn't peak until that time. It only takes about two weeks for the vaccine to protect against the virus.
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 Charity Navigator Four Star Charity and 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.LungUSA.org.
About the Early Development of Global Education (EDGE)
The Early Development of Global Education provides leadership, education, services and advocacy that will assist in revolutionizing a global humanitarian movement of environmental education and awareness through partnerships with families, teachers, schools and our global communities. By promoting excellence in teaching, programming and development of global environmental awareness and education, all children, families, and future generations will enjoy and sustain a healthier, cleaner, and safer earth. For more information, visit http://www.theedgeeducation.com/.
About Walgreens Pharmacy
The Walgreen Company is the largest drugstore chain in the United States. The company operates 7,563 drugstores across all 50 states that provides access to consumer goods and services and pharmacy, health and wellness services in America through its retail drugstores. For more information, visit http://www.walgreens.com/default.jsp.
For More Information
For more information about the Faces of Influenza educational initiative, visit www.facesofinfluenza.org. For information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or log onto www.lungusa.org. The American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza educational initiative is made possible through a collaboration with sanofi pasteur.
SOURCE The American Lung Association of Florida-South Area