Diabetes, Heart, and Lung Associations Support Flu Shots
For the first time, the American Lung Association, the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and the American Heart Association (AHA) have come together to raise an important alert about the dangers of the influenza virus.
These associations, in an October 16, 2019 statement, are ‘urging the 117 million adults living with chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and lung diseases to prioritize annual flu shots within their practices.
The flu vaccine is a protective tool against influenza and it is an essential health management step for people living with these diseases.
These national public health officials have stepped up efforts to educate Americans on the impact of flu on chronic health conditions.
During the 2018-2019 season, 93 percent of adults hospitalized for flu, reported at least 1 underlying medical condition that placed them at high-risk for complications.
Annual flu shots have been shown to mitigate these risks in patients with chronic health conditions—reducing the chance of hospitalization by 37 percent, and reducing the risk of admission to the intensive care unit by 82 percent.
“Getting the flu can lead to complications with very serious consequences for people with cardiovascular disease, including hospitalization, increased risk for other major health events like heart attacks or strokes, and death,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., American Heart Association Chief Medical Officer for Prevention.
“Flu vaccination is a good idea for all and has actually been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events.”
Yet, only 45 percent of adults were vaccinated in the 2018-2019 season.
Urgent action is needed to increase immunization rates and protect those at increased risk from serious health complications caused by the flu.
To that end, people living with lung or heart disease or diabetes should be immunized against the flu annually as part of their regular health care management.
Just as medication, blood pressure monitoring for hypertension, blood glucose monitoring for diabetes and the use of inhalers for lung disease are key to maintain healthy lives, flu vaccination should be viewed as a routine component to prevent illness and keep chronic conditions in check.
In addition, healthcare providers can be crucial agents for change that can help save lives by strongly advocating for and supporting immunization in their practices. As one of the most trusted sources of medical information, a health care provider’s word is paramount to increasing vaccination rates.
Therefore, we urge providers to help patients understand their risks and to issue strong recommendations for an annual flu vaccine to reduce the serious consequences of the flu, especially among people with existing chronic health conditions.
Make no mistake, complications from influenza can be lethal. The flu vaccine can reduce these risks significantly.
By championing vaccination, we are working together to save lives and preserve the quality of life and independence for millions of Americans with chronic diseases.
“We are proud of our collaboration with the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association raising awareness around the importance of flu vaccination, especially for those with chronic conditions and more vulnerable to the impacts of the flu,” said Albert A. Rizzo, M.D., FACP, American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer.
“Americans oftentimes live with one or more of these chronic medical conditions that span across our three organizations and working together we can encourage flu vaccinations and save lives.”
The American Lung Association, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association offer educational resources about the burden of flu and increased need for vaccination among people with chronic health conditions.
And throughout the flu season, the Lung Association, AHA and ADA will be sharing the personal stories of individuals affected by the flu, resources on how to find the closest flu vaccine provider and debunk myths surrounding the flu.
Free, downloadable information on flu and chronic health conditions is also available through the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education, and advocacy.
Influenza Vaccine news published by Precision Vaccinations