By Col. Mitchell Brew
Commander Barquist Army Health Clinic
Flu season in the U.S. runs from October through May.
Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
What is influenza?
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
How do flu vaccines work?
Flu vaccines (the flu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine) cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. The upcoming season's flu vaccine will protect against the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. This includes an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus.
Why get a flu shot?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. History has shown us that influenza can be epidemic and deadly, but fortunately with the advent of the flu shot incidence of death has decreased. Immunizations are really the best protection against the flu and have saved more lives than any other medical measure in history. These preventive efforts have also saved billions of dollars in related healthcare costs and total societal costs. Morbidity from all vaccine-preventable diseases has fallen 90 percent or more for most diseases since the 20th century.
Where can you get your flu vaccination?
Barquist Army Health Clinic will hold influenza vaccinations for active duty Oct. 1-5 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Odom Fitness Center, Bldg. 1507. DOD Civilians and eligible Military Beneficiaries can receive their vaccinations from Oct. 9-11 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and on Nov. 5-6 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Odom Fitness Center, Bldg 1507. After this time, the vaccine will be available at Barquist’s immunization clinic. Please call for more information.
Beneficiaries may seek out other TRICARE-authorized providers or visit participating pharmacies, if needed. Active duty military, DOD civilians and eligible military beneficiaries can receive the flu vaccination at no cost.