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With flu season upon us, it's time for the shot

by 2nd Lt. Omar Villarreal
Chief of Internal Information
Photo by Staff Sgt. Robin Drake

Col. Maggie Woodward, commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing, receives a flu shot from Tech. Sgt. George Denby, from the Immunizations Clinic.

Aaah… Aaah… Aaaaaah chooo!

Flu season is just around the corner, but there's no need to fear. Tech. Sgt. George Denby, from the Immunizations Clinic here has shared a little incite on what the flu is and how to keep from catching the virus.

Influenza, also known as "the flu," is a viral infection of the respiratory system (nose, throat and lungs) which is spread from person to person through the air.

Within about two to three days, an individual who has the flu, will probably experience high fever, headaches, muscle aches and extreme tiredness.

"Anyone can catch the virus," said Sergeant Denby. "In fact, the flu strikes about one in 10 people in the U.S. each winter and usually stays with them for about two weeks."

The flu season varies across the country, generally peaking between December and March; therefore military personnel should get vaccinated as soon as possible to ward off any infections.

"In all honesty, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu should get vaccinated," said Sergeant Denby.

There are two types of vaccinations, the intramuscular, or "the shot," and the nasal-spray. The shot is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle in the upper arm, and the nasal-spray is a "live" vaccine made with weakened flu viruses taken through the nose.

The majority of military servicemembers here will receive the nasal-spray.

"The nasal-spray does not make you sick," said Sergeant Denby.

A common misconception is that getting the flu shot is better than getting the nasal-spray.

"Studies have been done and one is not better than the other," said Sergeant Denby.

For more information about the influenza virus or how to get vaccinated contact the 6th Medical Group Immunizations Clinic at 827-9375.

Currently, the immunizations clinic here has begun treating active duty personnel with the plan to have them all vaccinated by the end of November. The clinic will also begin treating all other TRICARE beneficiaries with the flu vaccine starting in November.

"Getting the flu vaccine is another way to keep ourselves healthy and mission ready," said Colonel Maggie Woodward, 6th Air Mobility Wing commander.

Colonel Woodward happily received her vaccination Friday.

"Don't wait to get the vaccine because those who wait tend to get the flu," said Sergeant Denby.

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