Health & Safety

February 20, 2014

ANG immunization expert says flu shot still vital

Airman Halley Burgess
131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. (AFNS) – It’s deep into flu season, and public health officials continue to work to spread the word about the importance of getting the flu shot, especially in light of a recent increase in a particularly severe flu strain affecting young adults.

A recent World Health Organization advisory indicated that flu activity remains high across North America, according to Lt. Col. Susan Walker, chief nurse executive for the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Medical Group.

“The majority of what they are seeing out there is H1N1,” said Walker of the flu strain that is famous for causing severe illness and in some cases, death – even amongst otherwise healthy young adults. “The vaccine we are using this season provides protection against the Influenza A- H1N1 flu strain,” she added.

Walker, a traditional Guard member, is somewhat of an expert in and out of uniform; when not helping to manage health care operations here, she teaches and assesses military immunization programs in her civilian role as an immunization healthcare specialist.

Another expert is Senior Master Sgt. Jessica Settle, a Human Resources Advisor with the 131st Bomb Wing who works as a planner for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. She attributes the uptick in H1N1 amongst the 25- to-47-year-old demographic to their neglecting to get immunized.

According to Walker, the Department of Defense has exceeded its goal to have 90 percent of the force immunized by mid-December, and Settle urges all Airmen who haven’t yet done so to be sure that they get the vaccine. She also suggests that Airmen remind their friends and loved ones that it is not too late in the season to get vaccinated.

“The ‘regular’ flu season has not yet peaked and typically lasts until May,” said Settle. Even after the flu season peaks, expeditionary Airmen remain vulnerable, according to Walker.

“Our people could deploy to areas where the flu season is still prevalent,” she said, so “DOD will vaccinate for flu up to June 30, 2014 – the expiration date on the vaccine.”

In addition to getting vaccinated, Settle reminds everyone to be mindful of their personal hygiene – and the hygiene of the people around them as well – in order to maximize protection against the flu.

“It is a culmination of neglecting to cough or sneeze in a tissue and going out while sick, along with not being vaccinated, that causes illness outbreaks,” Settle said.

While it is important to protect yourself the flu vaccine, is not recommended to anyone who has a condition or medical reasons which advise against it. Pregnant women, young children, people with chronic health problems, and the elderly are strongly advised to get vaccinated.

Capt. Jeffrey Bishop contributed to this article.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force Illustration by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau)

Don’t become a target

Considering recent threats against Americans and the exponential growth of social media use, becoming a target of an adversary is easier than ever. Operations Security is a process that identifies unclassified, critical informa...
 
 
BreastCancerAwareness_pict

An Airman’s story: My mother didn’t fight alone

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – His green eyes frantically searched the crowd for his dying mother. During his final pass and review at basic military training (BMT) he saw her in the stands, cheering him on. A year later, ...
 
 

Fire Prevention Week 2014

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski) Sparky the Fire Dog, National Fire Protection Association spokesdog, and members from the 355th Fire Emergency Services flight taught children from the Child Development Center how to stop, drop and roll at Davis-Monthan, Oct. 8. The 355th FES conducted several events in conjunction with Fire...
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Micaiah Anthony)

Trick-or-treat safely this Halloween

Excitement is in the air and ghosts, ghouls, monsters and princesses will be out in mass, October 31, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.. Accidents and mishaps increase during this event. To prevent them use common sense, be aware of p...
 
 

Early HPV vaccination protects those at risk

Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity WASHINGTON – Immunization at a young age against the human papilloma virus can protect those who are typically infected in the United States –- military- or college-age young adults –- from a range of cancers as adults, an expert from the Defense Health Agency said today. Air Force...
 
 

Tip line reports illegal acts to AFOSI

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Reporting suspicious activity has become much easier. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations established a tip line for the Air Force to support the insider-threat mission. The tip line is an anonymous reporting mechanism to advise law enforcement of illegal activities. It provides an easily accessible avenue for individuals to...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin