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TUCSON, Ariz., Sept. 13, 2011— Nobody likes to get stuck with a needle. But influenza — the flu — is particularly hazardous for those with neuromuscular disease, which is why the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and Walgreens have teamed up once again to offer free seasonal flu shots now underway for people who have muscular dystrophy and related diseases.

This year’s vaccine protects against three strains of the flu, including H1N1. Families living with neuromuscular diseases should visit MDA’s Flu Season Resource Center at www.mda.org/flushots, or call 800-572-1717 to get flu shot vouchers that can be redeemed at any Walgreens pharmacy, Duane Reade pharmacy or Walgreens Take Care Clinic location nationwide.

For people with weakened respiratory muscles, the flu can be more than a minor inconvenience, it can be life-threatening. Muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases, especially those that progress in severity, can weaken muscles involved with breathing. The flu is particularly hazardous for those with muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

MDA Executive Vice President - Research and Medical Director Valerie Cwik, M.D., said the Association’s annual flu vaccine campaign helps provide protection for those who need it most.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Walgreens. Both adults and children with these diseases may already have weakened respiratory systems, making them particularly vulnerable to complications of the flu, so it’s vital for MDA to provide flu shots. Through our partnership with Walgreens, we’re providing convenient access to immunizations, which are one of the best ways to protect ourselves against the flu virus.”

MDA has some 200 clinics nationwide where flu shots also may be obtained. Please contact your local MDA office for vaccination availability through the MDA clinic serving your area. To find the MDA office near you, call 1-800-572-1717 or go to http://www.mda.org/locate/.

MDA’s online Flu Season Resource Center includes tips for limiting the spread of germs and preventing infection; tips on what to do if you do come down with the flu; a message from MDA’s Medical Director Valerie Cwik; resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and a Walgreens Flu Shot and Take Care Clinic Locator tool.

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.

– MDA –


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