September officially kicks off influenza (flu) season in the U.S., and it is time for all eligible Americans to get their annual flu shot. To help educate adults who are at high risk for flu complications and increase vaccination rates, today the American Lung Association launched a new campaign, “United Against Flu.”
Flu is a serious and highly contagious respiratory illness. While anyone can get the flu, certain people are at increased risk for developing serious complications, including those living with chronic medical conditions including chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease and diabetes. Racial and ethnic groups also may be at higher risk for developing serious illness. In fact, from 10 flu seasons beginning in 2009, Black Americans had a 1.8 times greater rate of flu hospitalization, and Latino Americans had a 1.2 times greater rate of flu hospitalization compared to white Americans.
“In past flu seasons, nine out of 10 adults hospitalized with the flu had at least one underlying medical condition. In fact, in the 2021-22 flu season, more than 30% of flu related hospitalizations were among adults with chronic lung disease,” said American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer. “This is why it is important for everyone to get their annual flu shot. Getting a flu vaccine is important to protect yourself, your family and your community from the flu.”
Flu vaccination is the best way to help protect against flu and severe illness from the virus. The flu shot is recommended annually in September or October for everyone six months of age and older, although it is not too late to vaccinate throughout the flu season. Over the course of more than 50 years, millions of Americans have safely received flu shots.
Through the “United Against Flu” Campaign, the American Lung Association has partnered with Sanofi to educate Americans about the flu and steps they can take to protect themselves from severe flu illness. Learn more at Lung.org/prevent-flu.