Flu cases increase nationwide - have you've been vaccinated?

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. David Thomas
  • 1st Special Operations Aerospace Medical Squadron
-- Have you had your flu shot yet? If your answer is no, it's not too late! . According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza activity is increasing nationwide and is most elevated in the southern region of the country.

The Florida Department of Health has reported high flu-like illness activity in the Florida Panhandle. Here at Hurlburt Field, 833 patients have presented to the clinic with flu-llike illness since Oct. 1, 2012.

So, what's the good news? Annual flu vaccination is the most effective method for preventing influenza virus infection and its complications. The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccination for everyone six months and older. This year's most common flu strain is included in the 2012 - 2013 flu vaccine, so getting vaccinated can help protect you and your family from illness.

The flu is a contagious illness caused by a virus that is spread through coughing and sneezing. Individuals may also become infected when touching objects (telephones, door handles, keyboards) that have the virus on them and then touching their nose and mouth.

Common symptoms of flu include:
  • fever and chills
  • sore throat, cough
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • a runny or stuffy nose
Those most at risk for complications are:
  • children under 4 years
  • persons over the age of 50
  • pregnant women
  • adults and children with chronic illness, immunosuppression or any condition that compromises respiratory function
It is also important for those who live with or care for someone in the high-risk category to receive a flu vaccine every year.

Preventative actions include:
  • Cover your mouth/nose with the crook of your arm when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, mouth and nose frequently
If you are sick with the flu, avoid spreading illness by limiting contact with others. Stay home for at least 24 hours and wear a mask if you go to a medical treatment facility or are out shopping for essentials.

The flu vaccine is available to all Department of Defense beneficiaries at the Hurlburt Field Immunizations Clinic from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Immunizations Clinic at DSN: 881-1373. All other flu facts/recommendations can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/.
Florida flu info can be found at: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/.