“Have a happy flu season!” Those were the parting words given to each patient by Lt. Col. Kirsten Anke, Public Health Nurse for Weed Army Community Hospital, as she gave members of the National Training Center Command Staff their 2012 Influenza vaccinations, Sept. 27.
Anke and members of WACH Preventive Medicine administered to more than 60 Active Duty, Civilian, and contract staff members, their annual immunization. The NTC and Fort Irwin Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Terry Ferrell, and NTC and Fort Irwin Command Sgt. Maj. Lance P. Lehr, led the way as they both received their immunizations.
“A healthy force is a happy force!” said Ferrell. “Take advantage of this program!”
Chief of Staff for the NTC, Col. Richard Wilson, added, “You don’t want others to have to pick up your slack while you are sick. Get it done!”
Currently, 58.5 percent of Active Duty servicemembers stationed at the NTC have been immunized. With the flu season looming, a final push to get all servicemembers immunized is in the works.
There are multiple strains of the influenza virus. The influenza vaccine covers the most common and severe strains found in the previous influenza season. The annual vaccine is created each season to prevent transmission of strains known to cause severe disease or death. This year’s vaccine provides protection against three influenza strains: Type A/California (H1N1), Type A/Victoria (H3N2) and Type B/Texas.
Influenza is most commonly transmitted through aerosol droplets and contact with surfaces contaminated with droplets. Prevention methods include frequent hand washing, sneezing and coughing into your elbow instead of your hands. Keeping your hands away from your face, especially your eyes and nose, is also recommended.
Symptoms of the flu include acute onset of fever, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, and runny nose. Children may also have nausea and vomiting. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
Family members, especially children under 2 years and adults greater than 65 years, who are particularly vulnerable, should also be immunized. Appointments are not required at the Mary E. Walker Center. Walk-ins are welcome during the hours of 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for Thursday afternoon. Customers might have a brief wait of 30-45 minutes depending on the time of day and how many patients are waiting for vaccinations. Customers will be asked to remain in the clinic for 15 minutes after the vaccine to ensure there are no reactions.
If you have not yet received your 2012 Influenza vaccination remember, “It’s not too late to vaccinate!”