Filed under: Health and Home Care, Reno
Immunize Nevada Reminds Nevadans: It’s Time to Get your Flu Vaccine
Reno, Nev. (October 15, 2015) – October 4 was significant for an inauspicious reason, according to the Centers for Disease Control – it marked the date the CDC officially began tracking cases of the flu.
“Seasonal flu vaccines are your best protection against getting flu,” said Heidi Parker, executive director of Immunize Nevada. “Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. The flu vaccine can literally save your life or the life of someone you love. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, but also those in our community who are vulnerable — like children and seniors.”
Nevadans are increasingly seeing flu vaccine reminders at local pharmacies, and family doctors/pediatricians are now reminding patients to get themselves and their children vaccinated.
These are valid reminders. Because while some think flu is akin to a “bad cold,” it’s something altogether different — and far more serious.
CDC Chief Thomas Frieden spoke during a National Foundation for Infectious Diseases press conference Sept. 17, noting that the 2014-2015 season had the highest hospitalization rate among seniors ever documented.
And so far this year, the new vaccine formulation appears to be a good match for the infection.
“The [strains] that are causing very early disease are exactly as predicted, and it looks to me like the vaccine is going to be well protective,” Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the past president of the NFID, said at the press conference.
To emphasize the gravity of flu, the CDC and flu.gov ask people to keep a few facts and figures in:
- More than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized and thousands die every year from the influenza virus.
- During the 2014-2015 flu season, 146 pediatric deaths were reported from 40 states; that number is typically closer to 100.
- Eight pediatric deaths occurred in Nevada during the 2014-2015 flu season.
- Flu causes 38 million lost school days and 111 million lost workdays a year, resulting in more than $7 billion in lost wages.
- About 20,000 children under 5 are hospitalized each year from the flu.
- The median age of children who died from the flu virus from January 2014-June 2015 was 5.9 years old.
“This is not just a bad cold or headache,” Parker said. “Flu can — and does — kill.”
Flu vaccination, either by shot or nasal spray, is your best chance at not getting the flu, and Parker adds that Nevada has many options for no-cost flu vaccinations. Additionally, Immunize Nevada has a convenient interactive widget on its website, www.influencenevada.org; the “Flu Vaccine Finder” allows you to input your zip code, generating a list of locations nearby offering flu vaccine.
And according to the CDC, people should be vaccinated against flu as soon as possibly after vaccine becomes available — ideally by October.
“It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu,” notes the CDC’s website.
But what if you do contract flu?
Flu symptoms include:
- A fever of 100 degrees or higher
- A cough and/or sore throat
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Headaches and/or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea
CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities.
Prevention Is Our Mission: We are a diverse partnership of individuals, businesses and organizations committed to improving and protecting the health of children, teens, adults & seniors in Nevada. Our mission is to promote health & prevent the incidence of vaccine preventable diseases in Nevada through community partnerships & education.
Immunize Nevada is a statewide network of individuals, businesses, public health entities and organizations committed to improving and protecting the health of children, teens, adults and seniors in Nevada.
Established in 1995 as a small group of citizens concerned about Nevada’s immunization rate being the lowest in the country, Immunize Nevada now consists of more than 100 members working together to help improve the health of Nevadans through vaccination awareness, outreach and education.
We help keep Nevadans healthy and educated about immunizations. Some of our responsibilities include:
- Supporting healthcare professionals by providing education opportunities, conferences, office tools and incentives.
- Collaborating with regional, state and national partners to develop immunization projects and programs.
- Serving as an expert resource to community members.
- Providing outreach and education about the benefits of immunizing and the risks of not doing so.
- Advocating for pro-immunization policies.
Learn more about Immunize Nevada’s evolution from a small grassroots organization, to an award winning, statewide immunization coalition.
Actor Lee Majors Joins Flu + You Campaign to Raise Awareness of Risks of Flu for People 65 and Older
Actor Lee Majors Joins Flu + You Campaign to Raise Awareness of Risks of Flu for People 65 and Older
National Council on Aging Launches Second Year of Education Program for Older Adults and Those Who Care for Them Aimed at Helping to Protect More Older Adults from the Flu
Actor Lee Majors, best known for his iconic roles on The Big Valley, The Fall Guy, and The Six Million Dollar Man, is joining the National Council on Aging (NCOA) Flu + You program to help protect older adults from influenza (commonly known as “the flu”). Flu + You aims to inform adults 65 and older, their caregivers, and those who care about them, about the dangers of the flu, the importance of annual vaccination, and available vaccine options.
As a part of his involvement in the Flu + You campaign, Majors will appear in a public service announcement (PSA) that follows him as he embarks on an important and action-packed mission: learning about his vaccine options and getting vaccinated against the flu. The PSA will educate the public about the increased risk of flu in adults 65 years of age and older and the importance of knowing your vaccine options and getting a flu vaccine, even for tough guys like Majors.
Every year in the United States, roughly nine out of 10 flu-related deaths and more than six out of 10 flu-related hospitalizations occur in people 65 and older. Older adults are at a greater risk for flu due, in part, to the weakening of the immune system that typically occurs with age. This means that no matter how healthy or youthful we feel, as we age we become more vulnerable to the flu and its related complications.
“The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine as the single best way to protect yourself from the flu, yet a third of people 65 and older still don’t get vaccinated,” said Richard Birkel, PhD, MPA, NCOA Senior Vice President for Healthy Aging and Director of NCOA’s Self-Management Alliance. “As NCOA continues to educate older adults about the flu and the potential severity of the illness, we hope to encourage more people to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting an annual flu shot.”
The flu vaccine offers the best defense to protect against the flu, and adults 65 years of age and older have several vaccine options. In addition to the traditional flu vaccine (which helps protect against three strains of the flu virus), there is also a quadrivalent vaccine (which helps protect against four strains), and a higher dose vaccine that was designed specifically for adults 65 and older. By improving the production of antibodies in older patients, the higher dose vaccine can provide a stronger immune response to the flu than traditional vaccines. All flu vaccines are covered as a Medicare Part B benefit, which means there is no copay for Medicare beneficiaries 65 years of age and older.
“I get the flu shot every year and encourage my peers to do the same – it’s a simple step you can take to protect yourself from the flu,” says actor Lee Majors. “I urge everyone 65 years of age and older to talk to their health care provider about their vaccine options this flu season.”
The flu can make existing health conditions worse, and it is especially dangerous for people with lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer—conditions that commonly affect older adults. Nationwide, 86 percent of adults 65 years of age and older have at least one chronic health condition and approximately 66 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have two or more chronic conditions, putting them at increased risk of the flu and flu-related complications, which can be severe and include hospitalization and even death.
For more facts about flu, and to order free educational materials, including a brochure and fact sheet, visit www.ncoa.org/Flu.
About Flu + You
Flu + You is a national public education initiative, from the National Council on Aging with support from Sanofi Pasteur, to educate adults 65 years and older about the dangers of the influenza virus, the importance of annual vaccination, and available vaccine options. Older adults and their caregivers can learn more on the Flu + You website, www.ncoa.org/Flu, which features a public service announcement with Lee Majors and facts about the flu. Also available on the website is a calendar of Flu + You events that will be held in 12 cities throughout the United States in September and October. At the events, older adults will have the opportunity to learn more about their risks for flu and available vaccine options, as well as talk to a health care provider and receive a flu vaccination.
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for millions of older adults—especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged—and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit:
CONTACT: Dana Kinker, (212) 301-7181, firstname.lastname@example.org