COLUMBUS – According to the American Lung Association, the influenza or flu is not just a bad cold, but a serious and contagious respiratory illness, and can be fatal.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that last year more than 80,000 Americans died of the flu, the highest number in over a decade. Influenza vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and to reduce the spread of the flu.
"Flu vaccination is essential for not only your health and life, but also for those around you who are more susceptible to the effects of the flu—young children, older adults and those with weakened immune systems," said Kim Covey, executive director of the Lung Association in Ohio. "The terrible toll of last year’s flu season is a great reminder to get to your local pharmacy, health department or healthcare provider to get the flu shot."
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get an annual influenza vaccination. Vaccination against the flu is especially important for pregnant women, people age 50 and older and those with chronic health conditions including asthma and COPD, as they are at a higher risk of developing influenza-related complication.
The flu season begins as early as October and usually peaks around January or February. The American Lung Association is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated this flu season.
"We urge everyone 6-months or older to get their annual flu vaccine," Covey said. "It might be the most important gift you give yourself and those around you this holiday season."
Learn more about the flu and flu vaccinations at Lung.org/flu. Media interested in scheduling an interview with an expert about the flu and lung health may contact Gregg Tubbs at Gregg.Tubbs@Lung.org or 202-715-3469.