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What To Do, To Prevent The Flu

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren/Released)

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren/Released)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- As the season for colds and flu approaches, the 366th Medical Group offers tips for both recognizing and preventing the flu.

Flu prevention starts with you
Influenza, commonly called the flu, 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. Every year in the U.S., more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and more than 3,000 people die from the flu.

Is it the flu or a cold?
Because colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold.

Flu symptoms include:
· Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
· Cough
· Sore throat
· Runny or stuffy nose
· Muscle or body aches
· Headaches
· Fatigue (tiredness)
· Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

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

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. Individuals should also wash their hands when sick or when in close contact with sick people. When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue and throw it away instead of using your hands. If sick, stay home so as not to infect others around you.

Remember, anyone can get the flu! It's important to take the proper steps to protect you and your family this flu season.

As a reminder, the flu vaccine is now available to active duty members and dependents. Due to vaccine availability, children ages 3-9 will have to receive their vaccine in the local community. Vaccines are given on a walk-in basis during normal business hours at the Mountain Home AFB Immunization Clinic. The Immunization Clinic is open Monday through Thursday, from 7:30 to 11:45 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 8:30 to 11:45 A.M.

For additional tips on preventing the flu or other contagious infections, contact the 366th Medical Group’s Public Health Flight at 208-828-7280.