Families and Flu: What You Need to Know Now

Peak Flu Activity Usually Occurs Between December - February

Issued: Philadelphia, PA

Flu activity typically increases around November and peaks between December and February. Simple steps can lower the risks of contracting flu.  These steps are especially important for families to employ because children are at higher risk for acquiring the flu or developing flu-related complications since their immune systems are not fully developed.  An average of 20,000 children per year under the age of five are hospitalized annually for flu-related complications and during the 2013-2014 flu season, more than 100 flu-related pediatric deaths were reported. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccination is the single most preventive measure against the flu.  Yet according to the latest National Immunization Survey (NIS) and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), among all people > 6 months old, flu vaccination during the 2013-2014 flu season capped at 46.2%.

Dr. Leonard Friedland, Vice President/Director, Scientific Affairs & Public Health, Vaccines North America, GSK discusses the importance of immunization for families this flu season:

 “One of the most common misperceptions about flu vaccine is that it can give you the flu.  The fact is that flu vaccine cannot give you the flu because it’s either made with a weakened or an inactivated virus or no virus at all.  If you’re a parent or caregiver, especially with young children, be sure to seek medically accurate information from your healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns.”   

Grandparents also play a central role in the lives of many families and are at increased risk for contracting seasonal flu due to weakening immune systems.  For seniors, the seasonal flu can be very serious, even deadly.  Ninety percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people aged 65 and older.

Dr. Catia Ferreira, U.S. Medical Affairs Leader, Vaccines, GSK discusses other simple steps families can take and how grandparents can help enforce them:

“By taking other simple steps this flu season, you can help your family protect itself against the flu.  If you’re a grandparent, a great opportunity to take the lead on is to gently remind family members to wash their hands often and cover their mouths and noses with a tissue when sneezing or coughing.  These easy steps can go a long way toward keeping your family healthy this flu season.”

Each year, research indicates which influenza viruses will be the most common that season, and that year’s vaccines are designed to protect against those strain types.  Today’s vaccines can cover against three (trivalent) or four (quadrivalent) flu strain types.  The quadrivalent vaccine broadens coverage with the added strain type.

GSK has put together some tools for media to help families keep flu at bay, which are available at us.gsk.com.  For more information about the flu, please visit www.cdc.gov/flu or www.flu.gov

GSK – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.  For further information please visit www.gsk.com.

*Notes to the Editor - Interview requests with Drs. Friedland and/or Ferreira can be made to Rob Perry or Anna Padula below.  Dr. Ferreira is fluent in Spanish.  Click above for bios. 

 

 

 

 

US Media inquiries:

Robert Perry

+1 407 492 4616

(Philadelphia)

 

Anna Padula

+1 215 751 4271

(Philadelphia)