Flu Survivor Calls Attention to Severity of Disease in New Families Fighting Flu PSA

Oct 18, 2011, 15:50 ET from Families Fighting Flu, Inc.

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Families Fighting Flu released Choose You Over the Flu™, a new national Public Service Announcement (PSA), reminding families about the seriousness of the flu, and the importance of taking preventative measures this and every flu season.  Luke Duvall, a healthy teenager and high school football player, nearly lost his life to the flu in 2009.  He is sharing his story so that others can learn why flu prevention is critical.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://www.multivu.com/mnr/52236-families-fighting-flu-psa-flu-survivor-luke-duvall-flu-prevention

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111018/MM67219 )

"You never know how you or your child will be affected by the flu.  In less than 10 years, the flu went from the 65th to the 10th most common reason why children were hospitalized," said Laura Scott, executive director of Families Fighting Flu.  "Luke's story is an important reminder that getting vaccinated annually for the flu can protect you and your loved ones from this dangerous disease."

Flu, or influenza, is especially concerning for young children.  Each year approximately 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized with the flu, and more than 100 children die from this disease most years.

In the PSA, Luke, now 17, and his parents reflect on how he almost lost his life to the flu.  Within 24 hours he went from being sick with what they thought was an 'ordinary' illness, to being rushed to the pediatric intensive care unit.  There were several times throughout Luke's heroic battle with the flu that there was uncertainty if he would survive, or if he would suffer permanent health complications from this severe illness.  After almost two weeks, Luke finally emerged from a medically-induced coma and began the very slow recovery process.  During his fight to survive, Luke lost 36 pounds and entered rehabilitation for many months in order to build up his strength and relearn basic living skills such as walking, eating and dressing.

Families Fighting Flu is sharing Luke's story to help everyone understand that influenza can have significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences – but the flu is also preventable.  The flu vaccine is safe and effective, and getting vaccinated annually is the single best way to protect yourself and those around you from this potentially devastating disease.

"I was in the hospital for 34 days fighting for my life and it was a long and painful recovery process.  Thankfully, I'm here today to share my story, which, believe me, is not as uncommon as you think.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone six months and older should get vaccinated for the flu this year and every year.  It could save your life," said Luke Duvall.

To watch the PSA and learn more about Luke's story, visit http://www.multivu.com/mnr/52236-families-fighting-flu-psa-flu-survivor-luke-duvall-flu-prevention.  For more information about the flu and flu prevention, to find an influenza vaccination clinic in your area or to support flu prevention education, visit www.familiesfightingflu.org.

About Families Fighting Flu

Families Fighting Flu (FFF) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) volunteer-based advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the lives of children.  Our members include families whose children have suffered serious medical complications or died from influenza, as well as health care practitioners and advocates 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.  Families Fighting Flu offers support to other families and communities who have been severely affected by the flu through resources available on www.familiesfightingflu.org.

SOURCE Families Fighting Flu, Inc.