It’s Fall and…Flu Season!

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that can result in mild to severe illness, and at times lead to death.

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms: feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body ache, headache, fatigue, and possible vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms are very similar to the common cold and it can be hard to tell the two illnesses apart. Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu and generally do not result in serious health problems. If you do have these symptoms, it is best to seek the advice of your Primary Care Manager (PCM) for appropriate medical care. Severe cases of flu can lead to hospitalizations if not managed properly.

The most important step in preventing the flu is getting your seasonal flu vaccination. Flu season typically runs from October to March, but can shift to be earlier or later in the year. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) also recommends everyday preventive actions like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and frequent handwashing to help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses, like the flu.

It is recommended that everyone age 6 months and older receive their annual flu shot. The flu vaccine is not live and should not cause any symptoms of illness. Starting with the 2017-18 flu season, all individuals will receive a full dose of 0.5 milliliters, regardless of age. All children under the age of 8 years old, who have not previously received a seasonal flu shot, should receive two doses to ensure proper immunity response. Once two doses are received in a single season, one dose during following seasons is sufficient.

The 436th Medical Group will begin their annual flu drive in October 2017, pending arrival of appropriate stock levels. Individuals who are considered “High-Risk” are encouraged to come to the Immunization Clinic as soon as the flu shot is advertised as available. High-risk categories include, but are not limited to, children younger than 5 years old, adults 65 years old and above, and pregnant women. People who have chronic medical conditions such as asthma, lung diseases, heart disease or people with weakened immune systems may also be considered “high-risk.”

The clinic will arrange multiple flu lines across the base in support of keeping the mobility mission going. All active duty should receive their flu vaccine from the 436th MDG for proper documentation in their readiness record. Times and locations for on-base flu lines and clinic availability will be announced via Facebook, web pages, the Airlifter, the Medical Group marquee and email via the first sergeants and unit deployment managers.