DETROIT, Dec. 6, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Lung Association is kicking off the 2010-2011 Faces of Influenza initiative in Detroit during the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), December 5-11, 2010. NIVW highlights the importance of annual influenza vaccination after the holiday season into January and beyond.
The CDC, with the support of leading health experts, now recommends influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older. In its fifth year, the Faces of Influenza campaign helps encourage all local Detroit residents to see themselves among the many "faces" of influenza recommended for annual immunization.
Influenza and its complications cause an average of 226,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. every year and, depending on virus severity during the influenza season, anywhere between 3,000 and 49,000 deaths. Despite the updated vaccination recommendations by national health experts, fewer than half of the population actually gets vaccinated.
Local resident Zack Yaksich has joined the Faces of Influenza campaign in supporting NIVW to spread the word about the importance of annual influenza vaccination for Detroit-area families.
In February 2003, Yaksich lost his 5-year-old daughter, Alana, to influenza-related complications. As a result, he and his wife now make sure their entire family gets immunized every year. They also work to educate others about the importance of getting vaccinated.
"We all are 'faces' of influenza and it is the responsibility of every Detroit resident to talk to your health care provider about vaccination," said Yaksich. "Many people are affected by influenza every year and don't realize that getting vaccinated is an easy way to protect their health, their family's health and the health of our community."
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 will include the 2009 pandemic H1N1 strain, so only the seasonal influenza vaccine will be needed.
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 other families across the country who 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 website, 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 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.
For More Information
For more information about the Faces of Influenza educational initiative, visit www.facesofinfluenza.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