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19th MDG keeps Team Little Rock healthy with flu vaccine

Three men stand smiling at the camera. The farthest left is smiling and wearing the Operational Camouflage Patter uniform, the middle is a man with dark hair and glasses wearing the Airman Battle Uniform and the far right man is wearing a green flight suit.

U.S. Air Force Col. Gerald Donohue, 19th Airlift Wing commander, Staff Sgt. Caleb Loo, 19th Medical Group NCO in charge of the immunization clinic, and Col. Stephen Hodge, 314th AW commander, pose for a picture at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., Oct. 10, 2018. Loo administered an influenza shot to both Donohue and Hodge to ensure they stay mission ready during the flu and cold season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

A man with dark hair wearing a flight suit receives a flu shot from a man with dark hair and glasses wearing the Airman Battle Uniform.

U.S. Air Force Col. Stephen Hodge, 314th Airlift Wing commander, is given an influenza shot at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., Oct. 10, 2018. The 19th Medical Group went around to various units to administer the flu shot to Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

A man wearing a sand t-shirt receives a shot from a man with dark hair and glasses wearing the Airman Battle Uniform.

U.S. Air Force Col. Gerald Donohue, 19th Airlift Wing commander, is given an influenza shot at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., Oct. 10, 2018. The 19th Medical Group went around to different buildings to administer the flu shot to keep Airmen mission-ready during the flu and cold season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

Flu and cold season has begun, and the 19th Medical Group staff are administering vaccines to Team Little Rock Airmen, retirees and their families throughout the season at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

The 19 MDG is committed to providing exceptional preventative health services to our beneficiaries. Since cold and flu season is getting underway, receiving your influenza vaccine is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family, and ensure our readiness to showcase the mission at Thunder Over the Rock Air and Space Show Oct. 27 and 28.

 

“Getting the vaccine is not only a force multiplier, but more importantly it protects our loved ones, and the vulnerable population from getting sick,” said 1st Lt. Allan Licudan, 19th Medical Group officer in charge of community health. “The wing and the 19 MDG ensure that we are healthy so we can take care of the mission and our family.”

 

Here are some common questions people have regarding the flu vaccine:

 

How do I know if I have the common cold or the flu?

Both the flu and the common cold are respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses.  It can be difficult to tell the difference since both have symptoms that may include sore throat, runny nose, muscle soreness and fever. In most cases, the common cold consists of nose congestion and cough with mild or no fever. Flu is generally worse than the common cold, as the symptoms are more intense. The flu tends to cause more prominent fever (at least 100.4F) and cough with muscle aches, but only mild nose congestion or runny nose.  The flu can be diagnosed by your primary care manager by collecting a nasal wash and sending it out for laboratory testing.

 

Will the flu shot give me the flu?

The flu vaccine is made from inactivated (killed) virus that cannot transmit infection. It takes one to two weeks to build immunity to the flu virus following vaccination; those who get sick after immunization may have other respiratory diseases such as the common cold.

Do flu vaccines cause any side effects?

Side effects of the flu vaccine are generally mild and go away on their own within a few days.  Common side effects include soreness and/or swelling near the injection site, headache, fever, nausea and muscle aches.  Serious side effects of the flu vaccine are very rare.  Clinic staff are well trained to recognize and treat these reactions should they occur.

Will this year’s flu shot even work?

Even though the flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective, healthy people can benefit from getting vaccinated.  Receiving the vaccine reduces the severity of the symptoms and can lead to a faster recovery.  Vaccination also helps protect more susceptible populations like very young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with long term health conditions. Finally, getting vaccinated helps protect others around you by keeping them from being exposed.

Do I need antibiotics when I get sick?

Since the flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not work. However, if you have a severe illness or are at high risk of serious flu complications and get the flu, you should seek medical care.  Your doctor may decide to treat your illness with a flu antiviral.

What should I do to protect myself and my loved ones from the flu?

The best way to protect yourself is to get the flu vaccine each year.  There are also several everyday preventative actions you can take such as staying away from sick people and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds to reduce the spread of germs.  If you are sick with the flu, stay away from work or school to prevent spreading it to other people. According to PLOS One, an online open access scientific journal, new research suggests using home humidifiers could potentially reduce the spread of flu.

The flu vaccine is available at the 19 MDG throughout the cold and flu season, so Team Little Rock Airmen and their families can be healthy to fly, fight and win on a daily basis at the home of combat airlift.

For further education on the prevention and management of the flu, please refer to www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.
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