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NEWS | Aug. 22, 2012

Fight the flu by prepping for flu season

By Staff Sgt. Rena Y. Robinson 633rd Medical Group

With flu season rapidly approaching, the time to start preparing is now.

The 633rd Medical Group has prepared some helpful information to help protect people from catching the flu.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and in some cases death. The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each flu season. The human body will start to develop antibodies within two weeks of receiving the vaccination, and immunity can last anywhere from six to nine months.

A common question is: who can receive the flu vaccine? Everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. While people should get a flu vaccine every flu season, it's especially important that certain people get vaccinated, either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with, or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications. Individuals excluded from getting the vaccine are those who have a severe allergic reaction or hypersensitivity to eggs, or have had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine in the past.

In addition to getting vaccinated, there are a few prevention methods to keep people safe:

· Hand Washing - If no soap and water are available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

· Watch the Face - Keep hands clear of the eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are spread when someone touches something, and then another individual touches it and transfers the germs to the aforementioned areas.

· Cover that cough - Use a tissue, or cough and sneeze into the sleeve of a shirt.

· Keep Back - Stay away from ill people, and be sure to stay home or away from others if illness occurs.

· Stay healthy - Eating right, exercise, drinking plenty fluids and managing stress all contribute to keeping individuals healthy during the flu season.

As stated in the DOD Policy regarding the 2012-2013 Influenza Immunization Program Guidance: "Active Duty Air Force and Air Reserve Component personnel on full-time military status located on an installation with an MTF will receive their vaccines through the MTF."

During this flu season, venues for the influenza vaccine will be announced base-wide as shipments arrive.

For more information, contact Joint Base Langley-Eustis immunizations at 757-764-6985 or Public Health at 757-764-5252.

For additional information visit the CDC website at: