Health & Safety

September 13, 2012

Flu season is about to begin — be prepared

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Beth McMillan
Army Public Health Nurse, RWBAHC


The number of people with flu symptoms normally begins to rise with the approach of cooler temperatures when people begin to gather inside. According to the Arizona Department of Health, last year most of the local cases of the flu were seen in people 20-49, followed closely by 5-19 year olds. These age groups spend most of their time in school or in the workforce which makes it easy to come into contact with the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the key to stopping the spread of influenza is by getting vaccinated. Young children, people over 65, and anyone with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma and cancer need to keep their immune systems strong to fight off the virus. Proper nutrition, exercise, hand washing and staying home when feeling sick are some other ways to prevent the spread of flu.

The flu is spread by germs that travel through the air and fall on surfaces that people touch. People touch their face many times each day potentially exposing themselves to infection. Computer keyboards, telephones and door handles are just a few examples of commonly touched surfaces that influenza and other viruses can live on for days.

Besides vaccination, there are other easy methods people can use to protect themselves and their families from viruses. Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces with bleach and water to kill viruses that may be present. Vigorously wash hands for 15 seconds throughout the day or use hand sanitizer when water and soap are not available. Other methods to keep germs from spreading include coughing or sneezing into the elbow area rather than into the hands. These concepts need to be shared with all members of the family.

Get vaccinated; protect yourself and the ones you love. Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center personnel are currently coordinating multiple flu vaccination days for the Fort Huachuca community. RWBAHC will advertise on Facebook and on the facility’s homepage, at http://rwbach.huachuca.amedd.army.mil/, the dates, times and locations of where members of the Fort Huachuca community can receive immunizations. The 24-hour flu hotline, 533.2997, has recorded information and will be updated as needed.

Flu symptoms include fever greater than 100 degrees Farenheit, coughing, congestion, body aches or tiredness for more than 24 hours. Those with symptoms should make an appointment to see their primary care manager. Same-day appointments are available during weekdays at RWBAHC by calling 533.9200. The Weekend and Holiday Clinic is open for appointments from 8 a.m. – noon, and appointments can be made by calling 533.9165.

Home remedies that may help a flu victim recover faster include: staying home from school or work and resting for 24 hours after the fever ends; taking a fever reducing medication; and drinking plenty of clear fluids. Those with questions can call an on-call RWBAHC primary care provider around the clock at 533.2433.
For additional information, go to www.cdc.gov/flu and http://AZDHS.gov.




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