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21st MDS answers flu FAQs


Airmen are required to have the flu vaccination annually. 21st Medical Squadron will have mass flue lines to complete annual requirment once the vaccine has been administered to all active duty medics and first responders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dillon J. Audit)


As cold and flu season approaches, the 21st Medical Squadron wants to help protect Schriever by offering tips to help recognize and prevent falling victim to the flu.

Flu prevention starts with …
Influenza is a very contagious virus that infects the respiratory tract and is spread from one infected person to another. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends all active duty members and their families receive the influenza vaccination.

The flu can cause severe illness and complications, especially in the elderly, young children, people with chronic health conditions and people whose immune systems are weak. Last year alone in the U.S., more than 300,000 people were hospitalized and more than 11,000 people died from complications of the flu.

Is it the flu or a cold?
Due to the fact that cold and flu symptoms share characteristics, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. However, in general, flu symptoms are worse than the common cold.

Flu symptoms include:
· Fever* with chills
· Cough
· Sore throat
· Runny or stuffy nose
· Muscle or body aches
· Headaches
· Fatigue
· Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea (More common in children)

* It's important to note, not everyone with the flu will have a fever.

It’s the flu, now what?

If you are experiencing these symptoms, stay home from work, drink plenty of fluids, and ensure you get enough rest. If symptoms persist or worsen, contact your Primary Care Manager or report to an Urgency Care Center.

For patients with weaker immune systems or chronic medical conditions, it's recommended you seek early intervention from your PCM.

How to protect from the flu?

The best way to protect yourself from the flu is by getting the seasonal flu vaccine each year. The vaccine protects against the most common flu strains. Additionally, frequently wash hands and isolate yourself or others when they are feeling ill so as not to infect others around you. When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue and throw it away instead of using your hands.

When symptoms subside, proper precautions should be taken to prevent others getting sick. Make sure to clean bedding, toothbrushes, and any garments or surfaces that you may have come in contact with.


What can 21st MDS do?

Rest assured that the 21st MDS continuously monitors flu and gastrointestinal illness activity and is ready to help during high activity periods of these well-known illnesses.

Currently, the flu vaccine is available to all active duty medics and first responders. Once they are complete it will then be given to the rest of the active duty population and dependents.

There will be multiple mass flu line events on base, which will be announced once times and dates have been determined.

Additionally, vaccines will be given on a walk-in basis during normal business hours at the Schriever AFB Clinic. The clinic is open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For additional tips on preventing the flu or other contagious infections, contact the 21st MDS Public Health Flight at 567-2661.

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