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American Lung Association in Colorado's Faces of Influenza Initiative Rolls Up its Sleeves to Kick Off Flu Season in Denver
Date:10/15/2009

DENVER, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- 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. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 28,842 to 115,368 Denver residents will suffer from influenza in an average year.

To encourage local immunization, the American Lung Association in Colorado (ALAC) is hosting a vaccination clinic open to all Denver residents today from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at ALAC's office, located at 5600 Greenwood Plaza Blvd, Suite 100, Greenwood Village, CO 80111.

"Getting a flu shot helps me avoid influenza both at school and at home," said Heidi Kinsella, a Denver mother and special education teacher. "I know that getting my girls vaccinated has helped to keep them from getting sick. I even make my husband, his parents and my parents get their flu shot."

To help reinforce the CDC's recommendations for vaccination, the ALAC is bringing the Faces of Influenza national educational campaign to the Denver area. This multi-year public awareness initiative helps Americans put a "face" on this serious disease and recognize annual influenza immunization as an important preventive measure to protect themselves and their loved ones every year.

Heidi, like many other "faces" of influenza, knows influenza vaccination is the best way to help protect her family from the disease. Heidi even got vaccinated when she was first pregnant to help protect not only herself but also her unborn baby. As a mom, Heidi understands the seriousness of seasonal influenza and its complications. She joined the 2009-2010 Faces of Influenza initiative and is attending ALAC's vaccination clinic to talk about the need for Denver area residents to see themselves among the "faces" featured in the program and urge them to get immunized.

These "faces" include people who fall into one or more of the high-risk groups recommended for annual immunization by the CDC. Influenza, along with its complications, is a serious respiratory illness.

On a national level, "Dancing with the Stars" winner, Olympic Gold Medal figure skater and mother Kristi Yamaguchi is the spokesperson for the Faces of Influenza( )campaign. Other celebrities' "faces" featured are: actor Dean Cain, who played Superman on ABC's "Lois and Clark;" Dr. Joyce Brothers, well-known psychologist and advice columnist; Joy Behar, comedian and co-host of ABC's "The View."

Faces of Influenza Awareness Activities

The initiative also includes educational materials for consumers and health-care 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 health-care 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 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, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (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 health-care 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 new campaign, the Lung Association continues to offer its Flu Clinic Locator as a public service. Users simply type in their 5-digit ZIP code to receive a list of immunization clinics in their area.

About the American Lung Association in Colorado

Now in its second century, the American Lung Association in Colorado is the leading organization working to save lives, improve lung health and prevent lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association in Colorado 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 in Colorado or to support the work it does, call 303-388-4327 or log onto www.lungcolorado.org.

The American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza educational initiative is made possible through collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur.

    Contact:
    April Obholz
    303-847-0270
    aobholz@lungcolorado.org

SOURCE The American Lung Association


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SOURCE The American Lung Association
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