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Med squadron gives tips about preventing the flu
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Staff Sgt. Lori McCarty, NCO in charge of the immunizations clinic, administers the flu vaccine to Lt. Col. Frank Glenn, 66th Medical Squadron commander, in the clinic Aug. 19. At this time, only active duty members are eligible to receive the vaccine, but the medical squadron will issue notices about eligibility as more vaccines become available. (U.S. Air Force photo by Linda LaBonte Britt)
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Med squadron gives tips about preventing the flu

Posted 8/26/2011   Updated 8/26/2011 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Lori McCarty
66th Medical Squadron

8/26/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Flu season will soon be here, so the following are some key facts about seasonal flu, provided by the 66th Medical Squadron's Public Health office. Updates from the immunizations clinic are also listed.

As of Aug. 19, only the Department of Defense flu vaccine supply has been received. At this time, active duty members are the only people eligible to receive DoD flu vaccines. As more supplies are received, the medical squadron will announce availability to others.

Call 781-377-5065 for the most current information on personnel receiving the flu vaccine, to include children.

For more information about the flu, visit www.cdc.gov/fluwww.mass.gov/flu or contact the 66th Medical Squadron's Public Health office at 781-377-2095.

Key facts about the flu:
What is different with flu vaccine availability this year?
This year's goal from the Air Force Materiel Command Commander, Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, is to vaccinate civilians working on base, within their contract, parallel to the active duty members. The civilian flu supply is limited and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis, once it is available. Watch for more information about this initiative as supplies are received.

What is influenza "flu", and how does it differ from the common cold?
The flu is a contagious respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus. The flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and dry cough are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. In the United States, on average, five to 20 percent of the population gets the flu, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications and about 36,000 people die from seasonal flu-related causes.

How does the flu spread and how long is one contagious?
The flu is spread from person to person in respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or spreads the virus into the air and then another person inhales the virus. A person can also get the flu by touching a surface with virus-containing droplets that someone with the flu has touched, such as a door knob, stair railing or telephone, and then putting that finger or hand in contact with the nose, mouth or eyes. Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than two weeks. People with the flu are contagious one day before their symptoms start and for up to five days after getting sick.

What are the symptoms of the flu?
The flu starts suddenly and may include some of the following: fever, usually high from 102 to 104 degrees, extreme tiredness, severe muscle aches, dry cough, sore throat and a runny or stuffy nose. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, may be found in children.

Prevention Measures:
1) Get Vaccinated: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly seasonal flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal influenza. The 2011-2012 flu vaccine will protect against three different flu viruses: H3N2, an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus.

2) Avoid close contact: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Those that are sick should keep a distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.

3) Cover the mouth and nose: Cover the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those who are close by from getting sick. Put the used tissue in the waste basket. Anyome who does not have a tissue should cough or sneeze into their upper sleeve or elbow, not in the hands.

4) Clean hands: Washing hands often will help protect from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

5) Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth: Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

6) Practice other good health habits: Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

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