Dear MDA Families,
It's hard to believe that flu season is upon us, but since it's that time of year again, I want you to know that MDA is here to help. Influenza — both the seasonal and H1N1 varieties — can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening illness for those affected by muscular dystrophy, ALS and related neuromuscular diseases that limit muscle strength and mobility. That's why it's so important to be proactive and take the necessary precautions to stay healthy.
For 2015-2016, both trivalent (three components) and quadrivalent (four components) influenza vaccines will be available. The standard trivalent flu vaccine protects against three forms of influenza — two influenza A viruses (H1N1 and H3N2), as well as the common influenza B virus. Another form of the vaccine called quadrivalent protects against these same viruses and an additional form of influenza B. Be sure to check with your doctor before obtaining any vaccine, especially if you're affected by myasthenia gravis, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, or if you're taking immune-suppressing medications such as corticosteroids.
If your current health coverage doesn't include seasonal flu vaccines as a preventive health benefit, MDA's Flu Shot Program can help. Through MDA, individuals affected by neuromuscular disease can receive a free flu shot through local MDA clinics, or they can receive reimbursement (up to $35) for the cost of flu vaccines received from licensed health professionals, including those located at retail pharmacies.
It's important, too, for family members and household contacts of those with neuromuscular disease to receive a flu vaccine as early in the season as possible, and for families to watch for early signs and symptoms of the flu so that medical attention can be sought when needed.
There are other ways to help protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the flu. We invite you to explore MDA's Flu Season Resource Center for additional information about influenza, flu prevention, the flu vaccine and how MDA can help you obtain a flu shot. On behalf of MDA, I encourage you to take proactive health precautions to minimize your personal health risks this flu season.
Valerie Cwik, M..D.
Executive Vice President & Chief Medical and Scientific Officer
Muscular Dystrophy Association — USA
222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60606
The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
©2015, Muscular Dystrophy Association Inc. All rights reserved.