Influenza, commonly called the flu, is a contagious virus that infects the respiratory tract and is spread from one infected person to another. The flu can cause severe illness and complications in the elderly, young children, people with chronic health conditions, and with immune systems that are compromised. An estimated 200,000 people are hospitalized each year due to complications from the flu.
Is it the flu or a cold?
Because colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold. Flu symptoms include:
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Muscle or body aches
• Fatigue (tiredness)
• Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever
How to Protect Yourself and Family from the Flu
The best way to protect yourself is by getting the seasonal flu vaccine each year. The vaccine protects you against the most common flu strains. Wash your hands when you’re sick, or when you have close contact with sick people. When you cough or sneeze, don’t cough into your hands, use a tissue and throw the tissue away.
If you become sick, stay home so you don’t infect others around you. Anyone can get the flu, so it’s important to take the proper steps to protect yourself and your family.
The flu vaccine is available to active-duty members and all beneficiaries. Vaccines are given on a walk-in basis during normal business hours at the Ramstein Immunization Clinic and the Landstuhl Immunization Clinic.
The Ramstein clinic is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Landstuhl clinic is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Fridays.
(Courtesy of the 86th Aerospace Medicine Squadron)