Friday Flu Shot: Educating Air Travelers About Flu
Nov 04, 2011
Suddenly it’s November and the holidays will soon be upon us. People will be traveling across the country, and sometimes even across the globe, to spend the time with loved ones. Recent
reports anticipate that about 23.2 million air travelers will fly on US carriers during the span of just twelve days around the Thanksgiving holiday alone. Soon it will be December, with travel continuing steadily through Christmas and New Year’s and the number of travelers really adds up.
With so many people shuffling through crowded airports, detained in close quarters upon airplanes, and spending extended time at large holiday gatherings, it’s only logical that flu season tends to peak in January and February. Since it’s possible for an infected person to spread flu to others who are up to 6 feet away through droplets that are made when they cough, sneeze or talk, it’s alarming to consider how many passengers could be exposed to the flu from the presence of just one infected traveler.
That’s why Every Child By Two is excited to be airing a brief influenza video that will be shown to travelers aboard US Airways, American and Virgin America in November and aboard Delta Airlines in the December. This special opportunity comes by way of an in-flight program called “Lifestyle365” and will enable Every Child By Two to educate people on the importance of obtaining an influenza vaccine to help keep themselves and their families healthy this flu season.
While immunization rates for most vaccine preventable diseases are at, or above, 90% nationwide, many people are still unaware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently began recommending that everyone get vaccinated against influenza each year, (with the exception being those under the age of six months who are too young to be vaccinated). The evidence suggests that this universal flu shot recommendation will help to reduce the overall incidence of influenza throughout the entire population. While flu vaccination rates have been steadily increasing in recent years, it’s estimated that nationwide coverage of influenza vaccination was only around 43% last year, illustrating the need to do better in getting the word out to people of all ages.
Since it is expected that these educational videos will be seen by approximately 3.7 million travelers, Every Child By Two is excited that travelers viewing this message will gain a better understanding of the impact of influenza and the importance of vaccination.
Now imagine you were on a flight and watched this video. Do you think you might grow concerned about what else that coughing passenger is carrying, other than their carry-on? Would you consider getting vaccinated against influenza, not just to protect yourself, but in consideration of those you encounter? Will you be mindful of the infant child in the row in front of you, on their way to meet their grandparent for the first time, who happens to be too young to be vaccinated. Or the woman in the aisle across from you, traveling to help a family member who is beginning chemotherapy treatments and can’t be vaccinated because she is immune compromised. Or the man beside you who not only has three young children, but lifelong asthma. For him, the flu could be devastating and result in him being hospitalized during the holidays.
Vaccination may be a personal choice, but it’s a choice that impacts everyone we encounter, whether at school, work, on a plane or in our homes. We hope you will share these videos with others and encourage them to get vaccinated against influenza this season.
This guest post was written by Alethea Mshar out of concern for her son Ben. A version of this post originally appeared on her blog Ben’s Writing, Running Mom. Like all parents, my child’s health...
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