All health care facilities in the KMC have had the flu vaccine available since the beginning of the month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get a flu vaccine.
Influenza or “the flu” is a contagious disease. In the U.S., annual epidemics of influenza typically occur during the fall or winter months, but the peak of influenza activity can occur as late as April or May.
Influenza-related complications requiring urgent medical care, including hospitalizations or deaths, can result from the direct effects of influenza virus infection, from complications associated with age or pregnancy, or from complications of underlying cardiopulmonary conditions or other chronic diseases.
Flu-like symptoms include fever (usually high), headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose or stuffy nose and muscle aches. Symptoms can usually be treated at home, but there are times when medical care should be sought, such as when experiencing difficulty breathing not related to stuffy nose, ear pain, persistent fever, wheezing, and symptoms lasting longer than 10 days.
The CDC recommends steps to protect yourself and others from the flu:
» Take time to get a flu vaccine.
» CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.
» The flu vaccine protects against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. This year’s annual flu vaccine does protect against H1N1.
» A vaccine is very important for people at high risk for serious flu complications, including young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart or lung disease, and people 50 years of age and older.
» People who live with or care for those at high risk should also get a flu vaccine to protect their high-risk contact.
» Take preventive actions.
» Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw tissue in trash after use.
» Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
» Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
» Avoid touching your eyes and nose.
There are many opportunities for you to take aim at defeating the flu this season. The Air Force, Army, and Department of Defense Education Activity schools are working closely together to ensure all military beneficiaries are afforded the earliest opportunity to receive the flu vaccine. A robust schedule of planned mass flu drives and health fairs will be made available for the local communities. We are encouraging our beneficiaries to attend one of the mass flu drives, which are provided as a convenience and wait times should be shorter. Active-duty personnel at Ramstein will have scheduled squadron visits, but if the scheduled visits are missed they can take advantage of the mass flu drive as well.
The appropriate flu vaccine will be made available for ages 6 months and older, pregnant women, and people with high risk and chronic medical conditions. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu, call 86th Medical Group Immunizations on Ramstein at 06371-46-2530 or 479-2530, Landstuhl Allergy and Immunization at 486-8502 or 06371-86-8502, the Landstuhl Pediatric Clinic at 486-5301 or 06371-86-8502, or the Kleber Clinic at 483-1750 or 0631-411-1750.
The following mass flu drives are scheduled in the KMC:
Thursday — 4 to 7 p.m., KMCC
Oct. 15 — 2 to 6 p.m., Ramstein High School (Great Hall)
Oct. 18 — 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., Sembach (Tiger Tales Theater)
Oct. 19 — 2 to 5:30 p.m., Landstuhl Elementary & Middle School (cafeteria)
Oct. 19, 20 and 21 — 9 a.m. to
6 p.m., Ramstein Southside gym Annex
Oct. 22 — 2 to 6 p.m., Kaiserslautern Middle & High School (cafeteria)
Oct. 23 — 7 a.m. to noon, Kleber gym
Oct. 29 — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (dining facility)
(Courtesy of 86th Medical Operations Squadron)