Reading Help

New Year, New Goals: Be an InFLUence in your Family and Community

On January 5, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that last week influenza cases surpassed the “epidemic threshold”, a clear reminder that it is still not late to get vaccinated and protect yourself from the flu. The report indicated that nearly all states experienced high or widespread flu activity, which means that everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable to flu complications— older adults, children under 5 years, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions—should take proper precautions during this flu season.

[Not sure if you are at high risk for serious illness from the flu? Click here.]

Here are the top 3 things everyone should keep in mind during the 2014-15 flu season:

Get vaccinated

The flu shot is always your first line of defense against influenza, and it is not too late to get vaccinated. There are several flu shot options available. If you are at risk for flu complications or think you may be, talk to your health care provider before getting vaccinated. It is important to remember that the flu shot should be administered once a year as its immunization only lasts one flu season. To find the nearest flu clinic, click here.

 

Go to the doctor if you present flu-like symptoms

It is possible to get sick or present flu-like symptoms even if you are vaccinated. This is due to several reasons—being exposed to an influenza virus shortly before getting immunized, falling ill to non-flu viruses that cause similar symptoms, or being exposed to a flu virus that isn’t included in the vaccine. In some instances, people who are vaccinated catch the flu. While the flu vaccine generally works best among young adults and older children who are healthy, some older adults and people with chronic illnesses could develop less immunity after vaccination. Regardless, everyone who is able to get immunized, should get the flu shot every year.

 

Practice flu prevention

Check out these practical tips to help prevent the spread of the flu in your home and community.

Vacunémonos (Let’s Get Vaccinated) is a culturally, linguistically, and age sensitive community intervention that aims at increasing adult vaccination rates among Hispanics.

 

Día Uno: ¡Aún está a tiempo para vacunarse contra la influenza!

En los próximos 12 días estaremos compartiendo escritos diarios para motivarles a pensar en la salud y el bienestar suyos, de sus padres y abuelos y de toda la familia durante en las fiestas de fin de año. Algunos escritos ofrecerán consejos cortos, mientras que otros llamarán a la reflexión. Esperamos que estas palabras lo inspiren y que las comparta con sus amigos, vecinos y seres queridos.

12 Dias-26

Para las millones de personas que se enferman de la influenza cada año, esta enfermedad puede resultar en fiebre, tos, dolor de garganta, mucosidad nasal o nariz tapada, dolores musculares y fatiga. Pero, la influenza también puede ser peligrosa: cada año más de 200,000 personas son hospitalizadas por complicaciones a causa de la influenza en los Estados Unidos. Por eso existe una vacuna que ayuda a prevenir la influenza y sus beneficios están muy bien documentados.

Es por esto que los CDC recomiendan a todos las personas de 6 meses de edad en adelante a vacunarse anualmente contra la influenza, especialmente aquellos en mayor riesgo de sufrir graves complicaciones por la influenza. Esto también incluye a niños pequeños, mujeres embarazadas, personas de 65 años en adelante y personas con ciertas afecciones médicas, como asma, diabetes o enfermedades cardíacas.

La semana del 7 al 13 de diciembre se conoce como la Semana Nacional de la Vacunación Contra la Influenza. Aprovechemos estos días para hablarle a nuestros seres queridos sobre la importancia de la vacuna de la influenza con la ayuda de las siguientes herramientas.

Comparta estos gráficos en sus redes sociales:

 

vacunemonos graphic 3

 

 

Vea y comparta este video de adultos mayores contándonos por qué se vacunan

 

Imprima y ponga este volante en un lugar visible en su casa, lugar de trabajo o centro comunitario:

NIVW 2014 Volante

Day One: There is still time to get the flu vaccine!

Over the next 12 days, we will be sharing daily posts to motivate you to think about your health and well-being during the holiday season. Some posts will focus on handy tips, while others will offer a reflexion. We hope these words will inspire you and we invite you to share them with friends, neighbors and family. 

12 Dias-25

For millions of people every season, the flu can mean a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed. However, you may not realize that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States from flu complications each year. But there is a vaccine that can prevent flu, and its benefits are well documented.

This is why CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older, especially those who are at high risk for serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, that can lead to hospitalization and even death. This includes young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with certain medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

The week of November 7-13 is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and is a perfect opportunity to talk to friends and loved ones about the importance of getting the flu vaccine. Here are some helpful Spanish-language tools to aide you:

Share these social media graphics:

vacunemonos graphic 3

Watch and share this video of seniors in Los Angeles who share why they get vaccinated.

Print and place this Spanish language flyer in a visible place in your home, place of employment or community center:

NIVW 2014 Volante

There’s still time – get your flu vaccine today!

Siempre debemos vacunarnos

After November when you see signs that advertise: “Get Your Flu Vaccine Here,” you might think, “Isn’t it too late for that?” As long as flu viruses are spreading, it’s not too late to get a vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones.

For millions of people every season, the flu can mean a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed. However, you may not realize that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States from flu complications each year. The flu also can be deadly. Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of yearly flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people during the most severe season.

But there is a vaccine that can prevent flu.

While how well the vaccine works can vary, the benefits from vaccination are well documented. Studies show that flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

This is why CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. Flu vaccine is available as a shot and as a nasal spray. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about which vaccine is best for you and your family.

Some people are at high risk for serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, that can lead to hospitalization and even death. This includes young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with certain medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes or heart disease. For those at high risk for complications, getting the flu vaccine is especially important.

It’s also important to get the vaccine if you care for anyone at high risk, including babies younger than 6 months because they are too young to get the vaccine. Children 6 months through 8 years of age who are getting vaccinated for the first time may need two doses of flu vaccine to be fully protected. If a child has not received his/her first d ose, get them vaccinated now. For children who are 6 months through 8 years of age and who have been vaccinated with one dose, parents should check with the child’s doctor to see if a second dose is needed.

“Getting the flu vaccine is simple, and it’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu,” says Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases and Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. Millions of people have safely received flu vaccines for decades.

Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers. They also are offered by many employers, and are even available in some schools. Use the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to find the nearest location where you and your family can get vaccinated. As long as the flu is spreading, you can still benefit from a flu vaccine.

Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines. Check with your insurance provider for details of coverage. If you do not currently have health insurance, visit www.HealthCare.gov to learn more about affordable health coverage options. For more information about influenza or the flu vaccine, talk to your doctor or other health care professional, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

Remember that as long as the flu is spreading, you can still benefit from a flu vaccine.

The week of November 7-13 is National Influenza Vaccination Week. Flu season typically peaks between December and February but significant activity can occur as late as May. NHCOA raises awareness and educates Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers through their signature program Vacunémonos (Let’s Get Vaccinated), sponsored by the CDC. 

5 Reasons To Get Vaccinated At Any Age

We know vaccines are important for babies and children, but what about adults? The truth is that we never “stop needing” immunizations because they are necessary at all stages of life. Here are 5 reasons why:

Preventable diseases have not been completely eradicated.

In fact, recently there have outbreaks of measles and whooping cough, considered diseases from the past. Vaccines can literally be the difference between life and death.

 

Vaccines are safe and effective.

Vaccines help keep you healthy, just like good eating habits and exercise.

 

We can catch a preventable disease at any age.

In addition to not catching a preventable diseases, vaccines also help you avoid the cost related to treating and curing these illnesses.

 

Vaccines promote good public health.

Anyone with a preventable disease can expose and pass the illness along to their family members, friends, and co-workers making it a public health risk.

 

After a certain age, we become at increased risk for specific preventable diseases.

That is why it is recommendable that all older adults get the following vaccines:

There are also some additional immunizations, which should be administered under doctor consultation:

Immunizations should be part of a life-long effort to protect your health. Do your part be getting informed, getting vaccinated, and helping loved ones get immunized too.

Download NHCOA’s immunization brochure for older adults in Spanish.

Learn more at www.vaccines.gov and the vaccines and immunizations section of the CDC website.

NHCOA’s Vacunémonos (Let’s Get Vaccinated) program is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Feliz Año Nuevo: New Resolutions for 2014

ae25c3c389bab00310e593f279cd83ca741d828dAs the end of 2013 draws near, people around the world are getting ready to celebrate a new year. While traditions vary in different cultures – from eating grapes to kissing a loved one at midnight – one common tradition that people across many cultures share is making resolutions for a fresh start. This year the NHCOA family encourages you to adopt some new resolutions that will not only improve your life, but the lives of those around you too, including our padres y abuelitos.

  1. Get tested for HIV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 4 people living with HIV don’t know they have it. One of the best ways we can achieve the goal of making an AIDS-free generation a reality is to stop the spread of HIV by practicing safe sex every time and getting tested for HIV regularly.
  2. Each year resolutions around weight-loss and increased gym attendance prevail. This year try adopting a healthy diet and doing physical activity, such as dancing or walking, in an effort to prevent or manage diabetes.
  3. Get vaccinated against the flu. The height of flu season arrives right after the new year, so it’s still not too late to get your vaccine. And while the flu vaccine may be one of the most well-known vaccines, you may need others. Discuss the vaccines you need with your doctor this year.
  4. Help fight Medicare fraud by becoming a volunteer for the National Hispanic SMP program. Scammers often target Hispanic older adults due to their unique vulnerabilities, including linguistic and cultural barriers, lower levels of formal education and social isolation. By getting involved with the NHSMP, you can help protect our padres y abuelitos from Medicare fraud and strengthen the program for future generations.
  5. Advocate for paid family leave in your state. Twenty years after the passage of the Family and Medicare Leave Act, only about 60 percent of U.S. workers have access to paid leave, putting a huge financial burden on new parents and those with sick family members.
  6. If you don’t have health insurance, sign up for a plan through the marketplace. NHCOA’s Navigators can help you as you decide which plan best meets your needs. In 2014, access to health insurance is no longer a privilege, but a right.

No matter the resolutions you pick, the NHCOA family wishes you a happy and healthy Near Year! Feel free to share your resolutions in the comments section below.

Healthy Tips to Prevent the Flu

As the temperature steadily continues to fall, the risk of catching the flu continues to rise across the country. While the first and most important step you can take to prevent the flu is to get a yearly vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends some additional tips to keep you and your family healthy this winter. Among these tips are:

  • Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.
  • Stay at home when you are sick. Rest plays an important role in recuperation. Also, by staying home you will prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze, so as to not spread illness.
  • Clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer often in order kill germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. These are prime areas for germs to enter the body.

Striving to live a healthy lifestyle by cleaning and disinfecting your living space, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, drinking lots of fluids and eating a nutritious diet can also help in preventing illness.  Share with us how you are keeping your loved ones safe this flu season in the comments section!

Vacunemonos: the Flu, Diabetes and HIV/AIDS

For most people, the flu is a respiratory illness that is unpleasant, but remedied by rest and medicine. Common flu symptoms may include a high fever, cough and/or sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, headaches and/or body aches, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.  However, the flu can be more serious for some groups of people, including young children, older adults and individuals with certain health conditions, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Diabetes can weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight the flu virus. Additionally, being sick can raise your blood glucose and prevent you from eating properly. This may result in a negative impact in diabetes care because diet and exercise are important components of managing the disease. When the flu and diabetes intersect you are also at risk of flu-related complications like pneumonia.

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, also weakens the body’s immune system, gradually destroying the body’s ability to fight infection and certain cancers. Studies show that HIV-positive individuals have an increased risk for heart and lung-related hospitalizations during flu season as a result of HIV/AIDS and serious influenza-related complications. There is also a higher risk of flu-related death in HIV-positive people.

Due to the severity of possible complications, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that individuals with HIV/AIDS or diabetes receive a flu vaccine each year. It’s important to note that the nasal spray version is not safe for individuals living with HIV/AIDS or diabetes. This vaccine contains a weakened form of the live flu virus and is only approved for use among healthy people, ages two to 49 that are not pregnant.

Vaccines are for everyone, regardless of age, but they are particularly important for Hispanic older adults, who are disproportionately impacted by chronic diseases that can cause severe flu complications. Data shows that Hispanic older adults are five times more like to have HIV than non-Hispanic white seniors and Latinos overall are 1.5 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.

Despite these facts, Hispanic older adults have lower flu vaccination rates than the general population. As a result of this gap in vaccination rates, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) created Vacunémonos (Let’s Get Vaccinated) – a cultural, linguistic and age-appropriate program that seeks to increase vaccination rates among Hispanic older adults, their families and caregivers. Since its inception, Vacunémonos has trained 146 promotores de salud (lay health workers) and reached over 6,000 individuals through interpersonal and one-on-one educational sessions. To learn more about Vacunémonos, please visit the program webpage.

Vacunemonos: What’s Your Flu I.Q.?

The flu and its corresponding vaccine are important to maintaining good health. However, both are surrounded by misinformation. Due to the prevelance of myths surrounding the flu and its vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compiled the most popular myths so that people can test their flu I.Q. The National Hispanic Council on Aging encourages you find out your flu I.Q. by using the information below and then improving your I.Q. with materials from our signature Vacunemonos program – a culturally, linguistically and age sensitive community intervention that aims to raise vaccination rates among Hispanic older adults through targeted outreach and education.

A flu vaccine can’t give you the flu: True.
The flu vaccine cannot cause flue illness. The viruses in the vaccines are either killed (flu shot) or weakened (nasal spray vaccine), which means they cannot cause infection.

The “stomach flu” and influenza are the same thing: False.
“Stomach flu” is a popular term for stomach or intestinal disease, whereas the flu is a respiratory (lung) disease. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throate and muscle aches. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea also can occur with flu, but are more common in children than adults.

Getting a flu vaccine in December or later is not too late: True.
CDC recommends that people get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available and that vaccination continues into December, January and beyond. Influenza activity usually peaks in February most years, but disease can occur as late as May.

People should be vaccinated against the flu each and every year: True.
CDC recommends yearly vaccination for two reasons. First, new flu vaccines are made each year and often updated to fight against the three influenza viruses research suggests will be most common. Second, immunity declines over time, so a yearly vaccination is required for optimal protection.

Washing your hands if the best thing you can do to protect against the flu: False.
CDC recommends a flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting aginst the flu. However, preventative actions like cover your cough and washing your hands often are important everyday steps that can help stop the spread of germs.

The flu is typically spread through coughs and/or sneezes: True.
Flu virus is mainly spread through droplets from coughs and sneezes.

The flu is not a serious illness: False.
Flu is a serious contagious disease that causes illness and related hospitalizations and deaths every year in the U.S. Flu seasons can vary in severity. Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.

The flu vaccine is available as a shot or nasal spray: True.
Flu vaccine is also available as a nasal spray (brand name FluMist). The nasal spray flu vaccine is an option for “healthy” people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant. “Healthy” indicates people who do not have an underlying medical condition that predisposes them to influenza complications.

You can spread the flu to other before you have symptoms: True.
Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

There is no treatment for the flu: False.
There are prescription medications called “antiviral drugs” that can be used to treat the flu. Antiviral drugs are pills, liquid or an inhaled powder that fight against the flu in your body. The antiviral drugs recommended now are oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). Antivirals are not a substitute for getting a flu vaccine. A yearly flu vaccination is the first and best way to prevent influenza.

Vacunémonos: Flu Season 2013-2014

Autumn has officially arrived, ushering in with it the 2013-2014 flu season. A common myth is that the flu and its corresponding vaccine are just for children. The reality is that anyone can catch the flu, making it important for everyone to get vaccinated. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone ages six months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.

Currently the flu vaccine comes in two forms: a shot and nasal spray, making it a quick, but important step in protecting against the flu. Additionally, flu vaccines are available at a variety of locations, including doctors’ offices, drugstores and supermarkets, which makes getting the vaccine more convenient than ever. The ideal time to get your flu vaccine is by October.

The flu can vary in its affect on people, causing mild to severe illness. Some severe cases can result in hospitalization or death. The CDC recognizes that vulnerable populations, including older adults, young children and people with certain health conditions, are at a higher risk for complications from the flu. As a result, people in these populations are highly encouraged to get vaccinated each year, even in years when there are vaccine shortages.

When compared to other ethnic groups, Hispanics are less likely to take measures to prevent the flu, including getting vaccinated. The CDC attributes this to linguistic and cultural barriers, in addition to the high rate of uninsured individuals in this population. However, flu vaccines are particularly important for Hispanics, who disproportionately suffer from chronic conditions, such as diabetes, which can make the flu more dangerous.

In order to address the gap in vaccinations among Hispanics, the National Hispanic Council on Aging developed the Vacunémonos program. The Vacunémonos program successfully reaches Latino seniors, their families and caregivers through a two-pronged approach that combines one-on-one outreach through the deployment of promotores de salud (lay health workers) and a locally-focused bilingual communications campaign built around the message of the importance of adult vaccination. To learn more about Vacunémonos, please visit: http://www.nhcoa.org/vacunemonos/.

To find a vaccination center near you, please visit: http://www.vaccines.gov/getting/where/.