It might seem like "just the flu," but each year, influenza outbreaks result in billions of dollars in medical costs, millions of physician visits, and more than 200,000 hospitalizations. And-for the very young and elderly especially-a bout with "just the flu" can result in death. An average 36,000 influenza-related deaths proves it's much more than "just the flu."
But there's good news: Protection from the flu is readily available in the form of a simple vaccination. That's the message United States Kiwanians are encouraged to spread in their clubs and communities, and that's why Kiwanis International will partner with Chiron Vaccines in a three-pronged Young Children: Priority One campaign to minimize the effects of influenza outbreaks. Known as THRIVE (Tackling the Health Risks of Influenza with Vaccination and Education), the campaign focuses on education, community outreach, and vaccination.
"We are challenging all clubs to conduct, at a minimum, an educational program about influenza and the importance of vaccination," says Elizabeth Warren, Service Programs manager at Kiwanis International.
For the community outreach components of THRIVE, Elizabeth suggests clubs connect with area organizations, including elementary schools.
"A great way to do this," she says, "is to work with a K-Kids club and stage a school assembly on healthful habits that can keep the flu at bay, such as washing hands, drinking water, and eating fruits and vegetables."
The final campaign component involves clubs hosting vaccination events. For these events, Chiron Vaccines is available to send a visiting nurse to the preferred location and administer the vaccines.
Clubs are encouraged to begin THRIVE education programs during September and October, stage community outreach programs during October, and host vaccination events during November.
To help facilitate THRIVE, the International Office has sent each club a THRIVE Influenza Vaccination and Education Outreach kit. For more information about THRIVE, contact Elizabeth Warren, Service Programs manager, 800-549-2647, ext. 211, or e-mail.
For the latest influenza information from Kiwanis International's partner, Centers for Disease Control visit their Web site.
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