NEWS | Oct. 19, 2010

Give your immune system the edge during flu season

By Staff Sgt. Daniel Bowles Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

With peak season for influenza just around the corner, local vaccinations have begun.

In an effort to keep Team Charleston on task and healthy, medical clinics on Joint Base Charleston have started administering the vaccine - both in mist and shot form.

Influenza - better known as the flu - is an invisible enemy that strikes without warning, taking a sickly toll. Fever and headache are just the beginning. Aches and pains follow. Appetite is all but gone with the stomach discomfort that sets in and a runny nose with a sore throat doesn't help. Chills and sweats join with the other symptoms, making a myriad of misery that can last days.

Contracting the flu is simple. Getting rid it, not so much. Whether spread from work to home or from home to school, the virus knows few boundaries. Fortunately, prevention can be as easy receiving an annual flu vaccination.

The Center for Disease Control recommends annual vaccination as the most important step in protecting against the disease. The 2010-2011 flu vaccine is designed to protect against three main flu viruses: the H3N2 virus, the influenza B virus and the H1N1, previously called "swine flu," which emerged last flu season.

The H1N1 virus caused the first influenza pandemic, a global outbreak of disease caused by a new flu virus, in more than 40 years. According to the CDC, flu epidemics occur each year, but the timing, severity, and length depends on many factors. So, the CDC strongly recommends receiving the flu vaccine soon after it is available to benefit from the protection.

On Joint Base Charleston, vaccination for active-duty and Reserve members is mandatory and must be administered at the 628th Medical Group Clinic or Naval Health Clinic Charleston. After receiving the vaccine, the clinic will provide the member documentation for their immunization record. For non-military members the vaccination is optional, but highly recommended.

For those non-military members who wish to receive the vaccine from the 628 MDG Clinic, enough vaccine is currently stocked to service all approved customers, which include military dependents, retirees and government civilian employees with a valid Common Access Card. The clinic hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call Immunizations at 963-6714 or 963-6719.

Appointments for vaccination by request at NHC Charleston are currently limited to pediatric patients above the age of six months. Active-duty and Reserve military will be scheduled appointments by the clinic through their unit. Walk-in vaccinations for military, dependents, retirees and government civilians began Oct. 20. The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, call the Immunizations Clinic at 794-6850 or Preventive Medicine at 794-6560.

Additionally, all dependent and retiree TRICARE beneficiaries may receive the vaccine in the local community at TRICARE-approved pharmacy locations. Below is a listing of pharmacies in the Charleston area provided by the TRICARE office. Government civilians should not use the listing as a guide unless they are also covered under TRICARE, otherwise they will be billed at their own expense.

Alternate flu vaccination pharmacy list

No Age Restrictions

Medcare Express
8720 Dorchester Rd., North Charleston
(843) 552-3629

No Age Restrictions - $25 Copay

Palmetto Primary Care
2550 Elms Center Rd., North Charleston
(843) 572-7727

West Ashley Family Medicine
1483 Tobias Blvd., Charleston
(843) 402-0367

Age Restricted to 4 Years and Older

Costco
3050 Ashey Towne Center, Charleston
(843)763-0756

Heath First Rapid Care
8740 Rivers Ave., North Charleston
(843) 572-5990 Option 4

Age Restricted to 18 Years and Older

CVS
2152 Savannah Hwy., Charleston
(843) 556-8974

1401 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., Charleston
(843) 556-9295

1015 King St., Charleston
(843) 723-9481

4400 Dorchester Rd., North Charleston
(843) 744-1915

5215 Ashley Phosphate Rd., North Charleston
(843) 767-4500

1506 East Montague Ave., North Charleston
(843) 554-8867

65 Sycamore Ave., Charleston
(843) 571-4461

2566 Ashley River Rd., North Charleston
(843) 571-6567

59 George St., Charleston
(843) 720-8523

1739 Maybank Rd., Charleston
(843) 795-0792

983 Harborview Rd., Charleston
(843) 795-3216

8995 University Blvd., North Charleston
(843) 414-0701

Publix
520 Folly Rd., Charleston
(843) 762-5676

8409 Dorchester Rd., North Charleston
(843) 767-5975

Kmart
1535 Savannah Hwy., Charleston
(843) 766-2366

8571 Rivers Ave., Charleston
(843) 863-762-5676

Target
2070 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., Charleston
(843) 763-0756

7250 Rivers Ave., North Charleston
(843) 572-8918

Plantation Pharmacy
531 Wappoo Rd., Charleston
(843) 556-1994

Delta Pharmacy and Medical Supply
320 E. Bay St, Suite A, Charleston
(843) 937-0960

Walgreens
907 Folly Rd., James Island
(843) 795-5452

1861 Remount Rd., North Charleston
(843) 740-6977

4975 Lacross Rd., Charleston
(843) 529-2514

8395 Dorchester Rd., Ladson
(843) 207-1578

Rite Aid
1115 Old Town Rd., Charleston
(843) 766-5593

1934 Ashley River Rd., Summerville
(843) 556-6551

325 Folly Rd., Charleston
(843) 795-7956

1195 Remount Rd., North Charleston
(843) 744-8896

334 East Bay St., Charleston
(843) 723-0263

261 Calhoun St., Charleston
(843) 805-6022