SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to the widespread outbreak of the influenza virus in California which now has claimed 24 lives in Sacramento and more than 200 deaths statewide, the American Lung Association in California has joined Assemblymember Richard Pan, M.D. to urge all residents to get a flu vaccination.
Influenza, or flu, is a serious viral respiratory illness marked by sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, severe fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, runny of stuffy nose and muscle aches. Symptoms can last several days to several weeks. The illness is spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, sending the highly contagious virus into the air. It is easily spread from person to person and can lead to severe complications, even death.
"We can prevent death and hospitalizations from influenza when everyone gets the flu vaccine who is over 6 months of age," asserts Assemblymember Richard Pan, MD (D-Sacramento). "The flu vaccine not only protects the person receiving the vaccine, but others at home, at work, and at school by limiting the spread of this contagious virus. I encourage everyone to work with your physician to find the most appropriate vaccine for each member of your family."
Each year in the U.S., influenza and its related complications result in an estimated 226,000 hospitalizations and anywhere from around 3,000 to 49,000 deaths. California public health officials recently reported that Sacramento's 14 influenza-related deaths are the most in California to date, and the flu season, which typically peaks in February or March, has not even technically begun.
"The reported incidences and deaths due to this year's flu season are alarming," said Stephanie Yoder, Sacramento Leadership Board Chair, American Lung Association in California. "We are all at risk of contracting the flu, but it is critically important that adults and children with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other lung diseases, who are at higher risk of developing complications from the flu, be immunized every year to help prevent influenza-related complications and the spread of this dangerous disease."
In addition to getting the influenza vaccination, the American Lung Association notes that people can help prevent the spread of influenza by washing their hands regularly, covering their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and staying home from school or work when sick.
The American Lung Association offers a Flu Clinic Locator http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/influenza/flu-vaccine-finder/ which is an easy-to-use online resource, enabling individuals to find the most convenient place to get their flu shot by entering their zip code. For more information on how to protect yourself from the flu contact the American Lung Association Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNG-USA (-1-800-586-4872).
Contact: Stephanie Yoder, (916) 802-6240, [email protected]
SOURCE American Lung Association in California