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How to beat the flu even if you can't get the vaccination

by Lt. Col. Yolanda A. Geddie
6th Aerospace Medicine Squadron

Influenza, commonly called "the flu," is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus, which infects the respiratory tract (nose, throat and lungs). Most people recover in about two weeks.

Graphic by Staff Sgt. Randy Redman

We are beginning to see a few patients at the hospital who have flu-like illnesses. The flu season is under way but you can protect yourself from the flu even if you do not get the vaccination this year. These simple actions can help stop the spread of germs and help protect you from getting sick:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. A 6th Air Mobility Wing plan is being formulated to allow our unvaccinated active-duty members to stay home when you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, which include fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit /38 degrees Celsius, headache, malaise and myalgia.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something (phones, door knobs, common use pens/pencils, etc.) that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth. Periodically cleaning these common use items and your hands with antibacterial solutions/wipes is a good idea.
  • Other good habits, such as getting plenty of sleep, engaging in physical activity, managing stress, drinking water, and eating healthy foods, will help you stay healthy in the winter and all year.
  • If you do get sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Remember that supervisors have the authority to grant a one-day absence for these type situations. If the worker feels better on day two, it probably was not influenza that made them ill. Dependents and other beneficiaries should, if possible, stay home from work, school and errands when sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands. Washing/sanitizing your hands frequently will help protect you from germs.
  • Keep plenty of tissues and hand sanitizer readily available during this flu season.
  • Most people recover in one to two weeks, but people 65 years and older, people of any age with chronic medical conditions, and very young children are more likely to get complications.

 

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