Do You Know the Flu? Research Confirms the Importance of Vaccination

Serese Marotta

Did you know that since 2004, close to 1,500 children have died in the United States due to flu? Year after year, I hear people say “Oh, it’s just the flu” or “I’m healthy, I don’t need a flu shot.” And yet, we continue to lose innocent lives, many of whom are healthy children and adults, to this vaccine-preventable disease. I know first-hand because I lost my 5-year-old, healthy son, Joseph, to the flu. And now I’m Chief Operating Officer of Families Fighting Flu (FFF), an organization dedicated to educating people about the seriousness of influenza and the importance of annual vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, per the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Our organization includes families whose children have suffered serious medical complications or died from influenza, as well as other advocates and health care practitioners committed to flu prevention.

Catching the flu should not be taken lightly because the flu can be deadly. Experts are already saying 2017-2018 could be a particularly bad flu season. In the United States, 7,000 cases of the flu have already been reported – double the number reported by this time last year – along with many flu-related deaths. How do we protect ourselves from this unpredictable disease? Studies show that annual vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu as well as to reduce the time and severity of illness and hospitalization. And as an added bonus, the flu vaccine protects everyone around you, too. We call it ‘community immunity’ because we all have an important role in not only protecting ourselves, but our families, friends, neighbors, colleagues – everyone we come in contact with.

This year, FFF partnered with two leading health organizations, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) and HealthyWomen, to further our commitment to address unmet needs in flu education and prevention. Together, we created the initiative, Do You Know the Flu? to help health care professionals understand their vital role in flu prevention and provide them with resources. The Do You Know the Flu? e-toolkit urges health care professionals to have proactive conversations with their patients about an annual flu vaccination and includes resources and tools to help health care professionals increase flu vaccination rates, such as sample responses to tough questions about flu vaccination. Research shows that a strong recommendation from a health care professional for the flu vaccine can greatly improve vaccination rates.

FFF strives to be a reliable source of flu-related information and understands how critical research is in public education efforts. The flu statistics that we provide help to increase awareness about the dangers of this disease and provide a proof point for why annual flu vaccination is so important. Not only is the flu vaccine safe, it saves lives.

About Families Fighting Flu
Families Fighting Flu is a national, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) volunteer-based advocacy organization dedicated to protecting children and their families against influenza.

Visit us at the Families Fighting Flu website, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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Without research, there is no hope.
The Honorable Paul G. Rogers