Flu vaccines available

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --

It’s that time of year again; time to receive your influenza vaccine.

The 4th Medical Group clinic has received all stocks of flu vaccine for active duty members. The flu vaccine is only available as a shot this year. Medical research has found FluMist to be ineffective.

Air Combat Command’s goal for this year is for 90 percent of all active duty members to be vaccinated by Dec. 19 (this includes Geographically Separated Units and student populations). Clinic officials urge commanders to release members throughout the day to receive their flu vaccines to help Seymour Johnson AFB reach our goal.

Non-TriCare eligible civilians will not be offered the flu vaccine this year. 

Flu vaccines have already begun.  The Immunization Clinic is open to active duty members, retirees, dependents, all TriCare-eligible personnel, and members aged three years and older. Immunizations is a walk-in clinic, no appointment needed.

Immunizations Clinic hours are:

Monday, Thursday, Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Tuesday: 7:30- 10:45 a.m. / noon - 4:15 p.m.

(Small Pox vaccines only 10:45 a.m. - noon)

Wednesday: 7:30- 11:45 a.m. / 1- 4:15 p.m. 

What is influenza, or 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 at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. Antiviral treatment exists only for those cases deemed life threatening or severe. Check with your medical provider for more information.

Signs and symptoms of flu

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:

•        Fever or feeling feverish

•        Chills

•        Cough

•        Sore throat

•        Runny or stuffy nose

•        Muscle or body aches

•        Headaches

•        Fatigue or feeling tired

•        Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

 

Complications of flu

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.

 Prevention Measures: 

1) Get Vaccinated: The Centers for Disease Control recommends a yearly seasonal flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal influenza.

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. This may prevent those who are close by from getting sick. Put used tissues in the waste basket. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your 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.

Myths about flu vaccination

1. The vaccine makes you sick or gives you the flu.

The flu shot is made from an inactivated virus that cannot cause the flu. A few people may get some aches and low-grade fever one to two days after a flu shot, but this is not the same as having the flu.

2. I am healthy, and I never get the flu, so I don’t need a vaccine.

We recommend the flu vaccine every year for everyone because, by being vaccinated, you protect those who aren’t so healthy. If you get the flu you can pass it on to babies, seniors, and people who have chronic health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or asthma.

3. It is better to get the flu, and fight it off naturally.

This may be your choice, but you might not want to take that risk for your grandmother or your newborn niece.

4. I already had the flu, so I don’t need the vaccine.

Without proper testing, there’s no way to be sure you had the actual flu. It could have been a cold or an infection that felt like the flu.  If it was a stomach illness, it was not the flu. Because the virus that causes flu changes every year, you need a new flu shot each fall.

For more information on seasonal flu visit www.cdc.gov. For questions call Public Health at (919) 722-1172.