Flu Fighter: JoJo O’Neal

Meet flu fighter JoJo O’Neal, a radio host in Orlando. Diagnosed with asthma in 2004, her mission is to  educate people about asthma and help patients learn how to breathe and live better with the condition, which includes getting an annual flu vaccine. In 2018, flu knocked her out of action twice in one year, and she learned that asthma and flu can be a dangerous combination. Now JoJo is working with the American Lung Association as a spokesperson for the MyShot campaign, educating adults 50 years of age and older about the importance of an annual flu vaccine.

  1. How has flu impacted you personally? Why do you fight flu?
    I fight flu not only to help protect myself, but to help protect those around me.
    To make matters worse, I found out a couple of days after I had flu that I had also given it to my sister who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and she then passed flu onto her daughter. That’s when I realized flu can go beyond just me and that was really tough to deal with. On top of feeling so awful with my own symptoms, I was really concerned about those around me.
    I’m active. I love riding motorcycles and doing fitness competitions. I never got my flu vaccine, and then I got flu twice in 2018. It’s terrifying to realize that flu could have taken the activities I love away from me. It put my life on hold and magnified my asthma which was pretty scary. My body just felt horrible.
  2. How do you fight flu?
    I fight flu by prioritizing getting my annual flu shot, because my health decisions impact those around me. As a radio personality, I share my story with my listeners and encourage them to get their flu shots.
  3. What would you say to those who are hesitant about getting a flu vaccine?
    If you are hesitant to get your flu vaccine, talk to your health care provider. I share my story as part of the American Lung Association’s MyShot campaign, which also has helpful information and tips for talking to your health care provider and finding a flu shot at GetMyShot.org.
    To those that are hesitant about getting a flu vaccine, I would say take the precaution and get it. If you won’t get a flu vaccine for yourself, get a flu vaccine to help protect those around you. Passing on the flu virus to both my sister and niece made me realize how my health choices affect others.
  4. What do you want others to learn from your experience with flu?
    The flu can knock you out and put your life on hold, especially if you are 50 years of age and older and have a chronic health condition. Talk to your health care provider about your flu vaccine options and prioritize vaccination every year.
    It’s not “just flu.” I’ve been living with asthma for years, but when I got flu, it was terrifying. I didn’t get my shot, and now I’ll never miss a flu shot again.

Hear more about JoJo’s story in a video from the American Lung Association

The profiles featured on this website are provided for informational and educational purposes only. The information provided in these profiles reflect the opinions of the speakers only, and does not necessarily represent the position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services. No endorsement of the speakers by the U.S. Government should be inferred or implied.