Today's blog entry is authored by Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS, former U.S. surgeon general and chair of the Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition; and Carol J. Baker, MD, FAAP, FIDSA, president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and moderator for the Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition.
This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week, which was created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to encourage more people to get vaccinated against influenza, also called the flu, in November, December and beyond.
For the first time ever, CDC, along with Families Fighting Flu -- both members of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases' Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition -- created a day within National Influenza Vaccination Week that focuses on children. Children's Flu Vaccination Day is today, Nov. 27.
Americans are for the most part unaware that influenza can be a serious risk to the health of our children. Children are two to three times more likely to come down with the flu than adults because their immune systems are less developed. Children are also very good spreaders of the flu since they wash their hands and cover their coughs and sneezes less frequently than adults.
Seasonal flu is very serious. Each year, thousands of Americans are hospitalized and some even die due to the flu and its complications.
Annual influenza vaccination is safe and effective and is the best way to protect anyone from getting sick with the flu.
So get vaccinated against influenza every year, beginning in the fall and continuing through the winter -- December and beyond. Creating healthy family habits will help protect our nation from influenza each season and in the case of an influenza pandemic.
On behalf of the Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition, we thank our members, including APHA, for the important work they do throughout the year to educate people about the importance of flu vaccination.