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American Lung Association of California Joins Sheriff's Department to Support Influenza Vaccination In Sacramento

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 General News J E 4
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SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 27 The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department (SSD) is partnering with the American Lung Association of California's Faces of Influenza campaign to raise awareness around the seriousness of seasonal influenza and to encourage annual vaccination throughout the Sacramento community.

Sacramento County Sheriff's Captain and local "face" of influenza Scott Jones will roll up his sleeves at SSD's seasonal influenza vaccination clinic today with hopes that he can encourage other residents to do the same. Scott knows that protecting his fellow Sacramento area residents should go above and beyond enforcing the law, and he has joined the Faces of Influenza educational initiative to encourage everyone in his community, including his fellow officers, to get vaccinated against this potentially deadly disease.

"I became a police officer to protect the community from danger. Getting vaccinated against influenza, and encouraging others to do so, is just one more way I can help the people of Sacramento," said Captain Jones. "Influenza is a serious and potentially deadly disease, but it is also easily prevented. We all need to do our part to keep our loved ones and our community safe from influenza through annual vaccination."

Health experts recommend annual influenza vaccination for nearly 250 million people in the U.S. Despite this recommendation, influenza immunization rates fall far short every year. Locally, an estimated 29,350 to 81,400 Sacramento area residents will suffer from influenza in an average year.

Celebrities, health officials and everyday people have joined the Faces of Influenza initiative, sharing their personal stories about their experiences with the disease and encouraging influenza vaccination among recommended groups.

These "faces" include people who fall into one or more of the high-risk groups recommended for annual immunization by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Influenza, along with its complications, is a serious respiratory illness. On average, 36,000 Americans die and about 226,000 people are hospitalized in the U.S. every year. Vaccination is a safe and effective way to help prevent influenza and its complications.

Faces of Influenza( )Awareness Activities

The initiative also includes educational materials for consumers and healthcare providers, as well as the national distribution of new television and radio public service announcements featuring Kristi Yamaguchi and the high-risk groups recommended for influenza immunization. The Lung Association has developed a Web site, www.facesofinfluenza.org, where consumers and healthcare providers can find more information about influenza and the importance of immunization. Visitors to the site can also view the photographs and stories featured in the Faces of Influenza Portrait Gallery, view the public service campaign and utilize the Lung Association's Flu Clinic Locator, www.flucliniclocator.org, the largest online directory of public influenza clinics.

About Influenza

Influenza, along with its complications, is a serious respiratory illness. On average, 36,000 Americans die and about 226,000 people are hospitalized each year. Vaccination is a safe and effective way to help prevent influenza and its complications. The CDC recommends that anyone who wishes to reduce their risk of contracting influenza; children 6 months-18 years of age; adults over 50 years of age; pregnant women; and anyone with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, COPD, heart disease and diabetes, receive an annual influenza immunization. The CDC also recommends annual immunization for caregivers and household contacts of these high-risk groups; such as relatives and healthcare providers. Vaccination typically begins in October and can continue through March. In most seasons, influenza virus activity peaks in February or March, so vaccination throughout the entire influenza season is beneficial and recommended.

About the Flu Clinic Locator

In addition to this campaign, the Lung Association continues to offer its Flu Clinic Locator as a public service. By typing in their 5-digit ZIP code, site visitors can receive a list of immunization clinics in their area. Site visitors may also schedule appointment reminders and sign up to receive seasonal influenza news. The Flu Clinic Locator remains active as long as public influenza immunization clinics are offered.

About the American Lung Association

Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives, improve lung health and prevent lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy.

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.

Contact: Kay Carney Phone: 510-893-5474 KCarney@alac.org

SOURCE The American Lung Association of California
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