TUCSON, Ariz. — The Muscular Dystrophy Association is offering assistance with the cost of flu vaccines for individuals affected by neuromuscular disease, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).
MDA offers this service annually for adults and children living with muscle disease who, because of compromised respiratory function — including difficulty coughing or clearing fluid from the lungs — are at increased risk of serious and possibly life-threatening complications from the flu.
Families and individuals served by the Association can visit MDA’s Flu Season Resource Center to receive up-to-date information and tips for flu prevention, what to do should infection occur and how to obtain a vaccine through MDA.
Flu seasons are unpredictable and can begin as early as October, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people get their flu vaccine as soon as it is available in their area. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to be protected from the flu.
“Influenza, both the seasonal and H1N1 varieties, can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening illness for those affected by neuromuscular disease,” said MDA Interim President and Medical Director Valerie Cwik, M.D. “That’s why it’s so important to be proactive and take the necessary precautions to stay healthy.”
The influenza vaccine for 2012-2013 will help protect against H1N1, as well as the common influenza B virus and an H3N2 virus.
Individuals affected by neuromuscular disease can receive flu shots at most MDA clinic locations, or receive reimbursement, up to $35, for the cost of vaccines received from licensed health care professionals, including those located at retail pharmacies.
For more information about obtaining a flu vaccine, individuals may call their local MDA office or (800) 572-1717.
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.
In addition to funding some 300 research teams worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of 200 medical clinics; facilitates support groups for families affected by neuromuscular diseases; and provides local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters fighting progressive muscle diseases.