By WRNMMC Command Communications
that time of year again to get your flu vaccine.
Reed National Military Medical Center's annual flu campaign is underway, and
beneficiaries and staff members can receive the vaccine in Building 9
(Arrowhead Zone), first floor foyer at the maroon tent between the
Gastroenterology Clinic waiting area and Transplant Service. The vaccine will
be given Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Nov. 30.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu
vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older to protect against the flu,
explained Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Satyen Gada, a WRNMMC physician leading this year’s
CDC states the flu vaccine “is the best tool modern medicine currently has to
prevent infection with influenza viruses.” Flu activity often begins in October
in the United States, increases from December through February, and may last a
late as May, according to the CDC.
addition to getting a flu vaccine, Gada and other health-care providers at WRNMMC
recommend a few other measures to help prevent the spread of germs and possibly
becoming sick, including:
washing your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing
avoiding close contact with sick people
cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects regularly
you do get sick, health-care officials also recommend you stay at home and
allow yourself time to rest and recover to avoid exposing others to your
CDC classified 2017-2018 "a high severity season” because of higher than
usual outpatient clinic and emergency department visits for influenza-like
illness, increased influenza-related hospitalization rates, and widespread
influenza activity across the United States for an extended period.
officials also indicate the flu caused between 140,000 and 710,000
hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually in the United States
since 2010. However, they add that the flu vaccination prevented an estimated
5.3 million illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits, and
85,000 hospitalizations associated with influenza.
5 percentage point increase in vaccination rates could have prevented another
483,000 influenza illnesses, 232,000 influenza-associated medical visits, and
7,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations across the U.S. population,” the
viruses infect the nose, throat, and lungs and can cause a range of health complications,
according to health-care providers. They add that sinus and ear infections are
examples of moderate complications from flu. “Pneumonia is a serious flu
complication that can result from either flu virus infection alone or from
co-infection of flu virus and bacteria. Flu virus infection can also cause
serious complications like inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain
(encephalitis) or muscle (myositis, rhabdomyolysis), and multi-organ failure
(for example, respiratory and kidney failure). Flu can also trigger an extreme
inflammatory response in the body and can lead to sepsis, the body’s life-threatening
response to infection,” the CDC stated.
CDC furthered that people at high risk of flu complications include:
children younger than 5, but especially those younger than 2 years old
people 65 and above
people with asthma, heart disease, chronic lung disease, and neurological and
people with blood, kidney, liver, endocrine, and metabolic disorders, including
people who have a weakened immune system due to disease or medication
pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum
residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
some people voice concern that the flu vaccine can give them the flu, CDC officials
explain this is not the case.
most common side effects from a flu shot are soreness, redness and/or swelling
where the shot was given, fever, and/or muscle aches. These side effects are
not flu. If you do experience side effects, they are usually mild and short-lived,
especially when compared to symptoms from a bad case of flu,” the CDC states.
vaccines are among the safest medical products in use. Hundreds of millions of
Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years. Extensive
research supports the safety of flu vaccines. CDC and the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) closely monitor the safety of vaccines approved for use in
the U.S.” the CDC furthered.