Fall is back, so is flu season; Navy Medicine is ready, are you?

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Tito Alvarado, a preventative medicine technician at Camp Lemonnier, prepares to administer the flu vaccine
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Tito Alvarado, a preventative medicine technician at Camp Lemonnier, prepares to administer the flu vaccine

Let’s face it, getting the flu isn’t fun. The fever, aches, chills, cough and cold symptoms are unpleasant to say the least. Navy Medicine wants to urge everyone to be ready for flu season this year. The actions you take now can help prevent you from getting this dangerous disease.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) influenza is a growing problem. Last year 125,462 tests came back positive for the flu virus. This is a 42 percent increase in positive flu tests since 2013-2014.

Unlike a cold, where symptoms are generally located in the head, people who have the flu feel it all over their body. Cmdr. Eric Deussing, head of Public Health, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, said when his patient’s describe their symptoms they generally, “feel like they got hit by a Mack truck.”

To help promote readiness Navy Medicine administers approximately 1.2 million flu vaccines every year. Around the world military treatment facilities (MTFs) are currently administering the flu vaccine to Sailors, Marines and beneficiaries. Beneficiaries have the option of receiving their flu shot at their local MTF, or at a retail pharmacy free of charge.

Deussing says the height of flu season is in December and January, but getting your flu shot early can be pivotal in helping prevent the virus from spreading. Early action benefits the readiness of our Sailors and Marines, and the health of their families, and the community.

“Getting your flu shot is in your own best interest and the interest of those around you. If you don’t get a flu shot, your chances of getting the flu dramatically increase,” He said.

Deussing also says it is important to practice good personal hygiene and take precautions, such as coughing into your sleeve and being aware of, or avoiding, surfaces.

“Hand washing is one of the most important measures people can take, in addition to limiting contact with sick people,” said Deussing.

Preventing the flu starts now. Don’t be left out in the cold, get your flu vaccine today!

Be sure to visit the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center Influenza webpage for more information on flu season.