Our son died of the flu. We have to protect our children.

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Our son died of flu; protect yours

Did you know that seasonal flu is one of the top 10 causes of deaths in the U.S., resulting in upwards of 61,000 deaths, including approximately 100 children?

It’s true. Flu does not discriminate, but children are especially vulnerable to this vaccine-preventable disease. Approximately 30 percent of school-aged children fall ill with the flu during bad flu seasons, resulting in about 38 million days of school missed each year in the United States. It’s imperative that we help protect this vulnerable population.

This session, there is legislation that can help protect our state’s children, families and communities against the flu, as well as strep. House Bill 389 and Senate Bill 714 would allow local pharmacists to test and treat for these contagious diseases in Florida.

As a non-profit organization made up of families whose loved ones have suffered serious medical complications or died from flu, including families from Florida, the goal of Families Fighting Flu is to save lives and reduce hospitalizations by protecting children, families and communities against flu. We encourage Florida’s state leaders to strongly consider supporting HB 389 and SB 714. By supporting this legislation, we can help protect our children, our families and our communities against the flu.

Serese Marotta, Syracuse, N.Y.

The writer, chief operating officer of Families Fighting Flu, lost her 5-year-old son, Joseph, to the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009.