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American Lung Association in Indiana, Local Community Leaders Tip Off 2010-2011 Influenza Season in Indianapolis Universal Vaccination Recommendation Means All Indiana Residents 6 Months of Age and Older Should Be Immunized

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 12, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Indiana community leaders, Indiana Pacers, Indiana State Department of Health and Asthma Alliance of Indianapolis are partnering with the American Lung Association in Indiana on its Faces of Influenza educational initiative to kick off the 2010-2011 influenza season in Indianapolis.

In support of the campaign, these community leaders will participate in a news briefing on Friday, November 12 to serve as a reminder to the entire Indianapolis community that influenza is a serious respiratory illness that is easily spread and can lead to severe complications, even death.

WHEN: Friday, November 12 10:00 a.m.

Clarian Health Entry WHERE: Pavilion Conseco Fieldhouse 125 S. Pennsylvania Street Indianapolis, IN 46204 "We all are 'faces' of influenza and are at risk of contracting and spreading the disease. It is the responsibility of every Indianapolis resident to talk to their health care provider about vaccination," said Lindsay Grace, Manager, Mission Services and Advocacy, American Lung Association in Indiana. "Many people are affected by influenza every year and don't realize that getting vaccinated is an easy way to protect their health, their family's health and the health of our community." Vaccination is safe and effective, and the best way to help prevent influenza and its complications. This year, the seasonal influenza vaccine will include the 2009 pandemic H1N1 strain, so only the seasonal influenza vaccine will be needed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the support of leading health experts, now recommends influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older. Each year in the U.S., influenza and its related complications result in approximately 226,000 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths.

Locally, up to 157,000 Indianapolis-area residents will suffer from influenza in an average year, yet vaccination rates remain alarmingly low.

"Our entire organization is offered flu shots in order to stay healthy throughout the coming months," said Greg Schenkel, Vice President of Corporate, Community & Public Relations for the Indiana Pacers. "Further, we are encouraging the community to stay healthy by getting vaccinated at a 'Flu Shot Clinic' in cooperation with Clarian Health at Conseco Fieldhouse on November 19." On that date between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., flu shots will be available in the Clarian Health Entry Pavilion of Conseco Fieldhouse for $25 per person, and each person receiving a vaccination will be given two (2) free lower level tickets to the Pacers-Cleveland game on November 23.

The American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza campaign encourages local residents to see themselves and their loved ones among the many "faces" of influenza - people 6 months of age and older who should be immunized against influenza this and every year.

Get Vaccinated Against Influenza Mark Williams, MD, Pulmonary Disease Specialist, American Lung Association Board Member, who is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of the Indianapolis community, also joins these community leaders as the local "face" of influenza.

One year, Dr. Williams missed his office's vaccination clinic due to a heavy workload, and as a result he didn't get a flu shot, and ended up contracting the virus. Dr. Williams continues to urge the entire Indianapolis community, including all his patents and fellow health care professionals, to get immunized.

"I know first hand how serious the influenza virus can be, which is why I get vaccinated every year, and encourage all my patients to do the same," said Dr.

Williams. "I continue to urge the entire Indianapolis community to get immunized." We All Are "Faces" of Influenza The Faces of Influenza educational program, which includes expanded awareness initiatives nationally and in many major cities, supports the CDC's universal influenza immunization recommendation to vaccinate everyone 6 months of age and older.

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

The Lung Association is working with other families across the country who have lost loved ones to influenza. These parents, as well as others involved in the program, have joined the Faces of Influenza campaign to help prevent the tragedies they experienced from happening to other families.

Faces of Influenza Awareness Activities The Faces of Influenza initiative also includes educational materials for the public and health care providers, as well as the national distribution of television and radio public service announcements. The Lung Association has developed a Web site, www.facesofinfluenza.org, where the public and health care providers can find more information about influenza and the importance of immunization. Visitors to the site also can view the photographs and stories of the featured "faces" of influenza.

About Influenza Influenza is a serious respiratory illness that is easily spread and can lead to severe complications, even death, for you or someone with whom you come into contact. Each year in the U.S., influenza and its related complications result in approximately 226,000 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. Vaccination is safe and effective, and the best way to help prevent influenza and its complications.

We all are "faces" of influenza and are at risk of contracting the virus. The CDC, with the support of leading health experts, now recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older be immunized. Vaccination is important for everyone in the U.S., however influenza immunization rates in the highest-risk groups fall far short of public health goals every year. Groups at higher risk of influenza infection or complications include: adults over 50 years of age; children 6 months-18 years of age; pregnant women; anyone with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and diabetes; and residents of long-term care facilities. The CDC also recommends annual immunization for caregivers and household contacts of these high-risk groups, such as relatives and health care providers.

You should be immunized as soon as vaccine is available in the late summer or early fall. If you didn't have a chance to obtain influenza vaccine early in the season, immunization throughout the season into the spring or as long as the influenza virus is in circulation is beneficial because in most seasons, influenza disease doesn't peak until that time. It only takes about two weeks for the vaccine to protect against the virus.

About the American Lung Association Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lungusa.org.

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: Reena Patel

919-720-4289

RPatel@cooneywaters.com SOURCE American Lung Association in Indiana www.prnewswire.com Copyright (C) 2010 PR Newswire. All rights reserved -0- KEYWORD: Indiana INDUSTRY KEYWORD: HEA

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