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Fight the Flu

U.S. Army photo by CPT McBride

About the Flu
Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Flu seasons are unpredictable and have the potential to impact Department of Defense readiness and mission. In the United States, the flu results in more than 25 million reported cases, more than 150,000 hospitalizations due to serious complications, and more than 30,000 deaths annually.

The goal of DoD’s Influenza Vaccination Program is to protect all active duty, National Guard and Reserve personnel, mission-essential civilian personnel, healthcare personnel and Tricare beneficiaries from influenza and related complications.

Everyone 6 months and older should receive an annual flu vaccination. The peak season for flu is usually October through May. Get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Flu Prevention

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year. Other ways to prevent catching and spreading the flu include:

      Clean your hands often with soap and warm water or alcohol-based hand cleaners

      Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

      Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough then put used tissue in the waste basket. If a tissue is not available, then sneeze or cough into the inside of your elbow, not your hand.

      Avoid close contact with people who are sick and keep your distance or stay home if you are sick.
Where & When Can I Get Vaccinated

For the 2012-2013 flu season, vaccines will be provided to all service members in Hawaii Sept. 18-20 during a mass vaccination exercise. Please check with your command for more information.

Vaccines will be available to all Tricare beneficiaries in Hawaii starting Sept. 21. The Joint Vaccination Team’s brochure lists when vaccines are available at Oahu military medical treatment facilities, installation exchanges and area schools.

The three types of vaccines used in Hawaii this year include:

      FluZone: inactivated (single-dose syringe) in both adult and pediatric doses for patients 6 months and older

      Alfuria: inactivated (single-dose syringe and multi-dose vials) for patients 9 years and older

      FluMist: live (single-dose intranasal) for patients between 2-49 years old
Military clinics will not have the intradermal vaccination or the high dose influenza vaccination for seniors (over 65 years of age).

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