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Influenza Vaccine Provides Protection Against Potentially Serious Illness
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 02, 2002
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5222
Influenza (sometimes referred to as “the flu”) is a serious disease resulting in an average of 110,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths annually. It also leads to millions of doctor visits and results in many missed days at work.
The organizations said the best defense against getting influenza is getting vaccinated now. There is plenty of influenza vaccine available this season, so those still needing vaccine should receive it now. In general, influenza seasons do not peak until January or later, which gives patients who get vaccinated now enough time to be properly protected. For some people, getting immunized could be a life-saving decision.
The organizations specifically are encouraging all physicians to check their records to see which of their high-risk patients need influenza vaccine, but have not yet been vaccinated for the coming season. Elderly patients and those with medical conditions, such as diabetes, or heart or lung diseases including asthma, are considered high risk and should schedule their influenza shot as soon as possible. Health care workers and people who live with high-risk persons also are encouraged to receive the influenza vaccine so that they don’t pass influenza to those at high risk.
Even those people who aren’t in high-risk categories face a variety of problems, ranging from high fever and lingering fatigue to lost days at work, and missing holiday events. To avoid getting influenza, these people should also consider getting the vaccine.
Patients and physicians with any questions about the influenza vaccine can call the National Immunization Program toll-free hotline: 800-232-2522 (English) or 800-232-0233 (Spanish).
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.
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