It’s not too late to vaccinate

by Capt. Marilou Mote and Staff Sgt. Maria Rodriguez
86th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Public Health

The flu vaccine is still available to active-duty members and eligible beneficiaries through the Ramstein immunizations clinic.

Flu viruses are constantly evolving, and it’s not unusual for new seasonal viruses to appear each year. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend getting vaccinated, especially since the flu season can last as late as May.

Though some of the viruses spreading this season are different from those in the vaccine, vaccination can still provide protection and may reduce severe outcomes, such as hospitalization and death.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu is by following the CDC’s “Take 3” actions: take time to get the flu vaccine, take preventive actions every day to stop the spread of germs, and take flu antiviral drugs if prescribed by a doctor.

Preventive actions include covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing; washing hands frequently with soap and water (use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available); not touching the eyes, nose and mouth; avoiding contact with sick people; and limiting contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Most people who get the flu recover between a few days to less than two weeks without medical treatment. The CDC recommends these individuals stay home and avoid contact with others.

Antivirals are only recommended by the CDC for more extreme situations, such as when a sick individual requires hospitalization or belongs to a high-risk group (children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, people with chronic conditions and those who are immunosuppressed).

Signs and symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, fatigue and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. Those with the flu
may experience all or only some of these symptoms.

Anyone who experiences difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, purple or blue lip discoloration, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, seizures, and flu-like symptoms that improve but return with fever and worse cough should seek medical attention. Only those who are very sick should go to the emergency room.

In an emergency, call 112 or call Landstuhl Regional Medical Center at 590-4100 or

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