Actress and mother Sarah Chalke, widely known for her role as a doctor on the hit TV series, Scrubs, has joined with the American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza national awareness campaign to educate the public about the seriousness of influenza. Sarah chatted with us about her involvement with the campaign and why she feels so strongly about getting vaccinated.
Babyrazzi: How did you get involved with spreading the word about flu vaccination through Faces of Influenza?
Sarah Chalke: “As a mom with a young child, I’m committed to helping protect my son and my family from the flu. I’ve been getting the flu shot for 20 years, and was excited to join the American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza program to encourage families to help protect themselves by getting vaccinated against the flu every year. Public health officials recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated each and every year. People can check out www.facesofinfluenza.org to get more information about the importance of annual vaccination.”
BR: What are your best tips for moms on dealing with and avoiding the flu in addition to vaccinations?
SC: “Vaccination is the best protection against influenza, but it’s also important to adopt healthy habits like washing your hands throughout the flu season. Influenza is serious. Each year in the U.S., on average, influenza and its related complications result in approximately 226,000 hospitalizations. Depending on virus severity during the influenza season, deaths can range from 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.”
BR: What would you say to moms who are “fearful” or skeptical about having their kids vaccinated?
SC: “I would tell them that influenza is a serious respiratory illness, and that vaccination is safe and effective and the best way to help prevent influenza. Influenza vaccine options are available for children, adults, and seniors, so it’s a good idea to speak with their health care provider to find out more about the vaccine option that’s right for them and their families. And, parents also need to know that children 6 months through 8 years of age who are receiving a flu shot for the first time will need two doses approximately one month apart for optimal protection.”
BR: What were your experiences like having your son Charlie vaccinated?
SC: “I’ve had Charlie vaccinated every year once he turned 6 months I make sure that everyone who has regular contact with him gets vaccinated, too. Of course, that includes me since I work on set with hundreds of people with lots of viruses circulating and I want to do my best to help prevent bringing any of that home to my child and family.”
BR: With all of the flu outbreaks around the country, is it too late to consider vaccination as a preventative measure?
SC: “There is definitely still time to get vaccinated against influenza. Immunization throughout the winter and even into the spring is beneficial. In fact, as long as influenza viruses are in circulation, it’s a good idea to get vaccinated. Talk to your health care provider about the vaccine option that is right for you this flu season! You can also visit www.facesofinfluenza.org to learn more about the flu and read stories about why other people have gotten vaccinated.”
Photos by Fameflynet