Best way to prevent getting the flu: Immunization|
Posted 11/15/2010 Updated 11/15/2010
by 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
11/15/2010 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Shaw's 20th Medical Group is now offering the flu vaccine to all TRICARE Prime beneficiaries enrolled to the Shaw medical facility.
The med group has received shipments of both the flu shot and the live form of the influenza vaccine commonly referred to as the flu mist, a nasal spray recommended for healthy people between the ages of two and 49 years old.
Major Candace Burr, 20th Medical Group, explained the flu vaccine is a major step toward preventing flu-like illness that can lead to death. "The best way to prevent the flu," she added, "is to get immunized each year."
Active duty military stationed at or attached to Shaw Air Force Base must get their flu vaccine from the Shaw military treatment facility.
Immunization clinic hours are: Monday, 1 to 4 p.m.; Tuesday, 7:30 a.m. to noon; Wednesday, 1 to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 7:30 to noon; and Friday, 7:30 a.m. (The immunization clinic closes at noon the third Friday each month for training.)
She also recommended, "In addition to the seasonal flu vaccine, please remember to wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth and nose with your arm or a tissue when coughing and widen your distance between others."
Seasonal and H1N1 vaccines have been combined this year, the major noted, so there is only one flu vaccine.
Children ages six months to nine years, the major said, who are getting the flu vaccine for the first time, will need to be vaccinated twice with at least 28 days between shots.
Major Burr offered more information. People at high risk for developing flu-related complications, she said, include:
· Children between the ages of six months and five years old;
· Adults 65 and older;
· Pregnant women;
· Last flu season, American Indians and Alaskan natives were at higher risk of flu complications;
· People who have medical conditions including:
· Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions (including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy [seizure disorders], stroke, intellectual disability [mental retardation], moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury);
· Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis);
· Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease);
· Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease);
· Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus);
· Kidney, liver and metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders);
· Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids);
· Younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy;
· Are morbidly obese (body mass index of 40 or greater).
The Center for Disease Control says that unless contraindicated due to other medical conditions, women who are breastfeeding can receive either form of the flu vaccine.
Individuals who have, or have had the following, should consult a physician prior to being vaccinated:
· Severe allergy to chicken eggs;
· A severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past;
· Guillain-Barré syndrome within the last six weeks;
· Children less than six months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for use in this age group);
· Currently experiencing moderate or severe illness with a fever (should wait to get vaccinated until symptoms lessen or resolve).
If your spouse is pregnant or a family member has an illness listed as high-risk, the TIV shot is given, Major Burr said.
Both forms of the flu vaccine are available to 20th MDG Tricare prime enrollees at the Shaw military treatment facility. For flu-immunizations questions or concerns, please contact public health at 895-6193 or immunizations at 895-6096/6492. For more information on influenza see the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/flu.