NEWS | Sept. 4, 2013

Flu Season fast approaching … get your shots now!

By Airman 1st Class David Larkin 628th AMDS Public Health Technician

It's that time of year again ... the dreaded flu season.

I am sure many of us would love to catch up on a Duck Dynasty marathon and spend a few days in bed, but no one wants to do that with the flu. As anyone who has ever had the flu can tell you, the flu isn't a fun experience. Fever, chills, joint pain and body aches are all symptoms that help run you down and ultimately, can affect the mission due to lost man hours.

Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that generally hit the United States around September and runs through April - May, with a peak seen around February. The flu can cause mild to severe illness and in some severe cases, death.

The flu virus is commonly transmitted through the air via droplets produced by coughing sneezing, and talking. These droplets can land in the mouths and noses of the people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. A person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their mouth and nose. Avoiding direct contact with symptomatic people and frequent hand washing are two of the best ways to prevent infection. Getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet strengthen your immune system and also reduce your chances of infection.

Flu viruses are in constant change and vary from year to year. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu vaccine. The vaccine helps your body develop antibodies to protect you from the various types of viruses that may circulate in the population throughout the season.

The Center for Disease Control recommends everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu vaccine yearly. If you are active duty, you don't have a choice; it is required under your IMR status.

Currently, the 628th Medical Group is offering the seasonal flu vaccine with no appointment required. Just go to the immunizations window which is open to all active-duty members and their dependents. Additionally, the MDG is offering an influenza vaccination line at the Air Base Theater, Sept. 10 and 26 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The shot is required for all military personnel and recommended for all adults and children older than six months old.

Preventing the flu in your family is up to you and the most effective way to do this is through receiving the flu vaccine. For further information about influenza, the Centers for Disease Control provide excellent resources at www.cdc.gov/flu .