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Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, receives his flu shot Sept. 12 at McNair Hall from Pete Wiemers, Army Public Health Nursing. In the background, Capt. Jasmin Gregory, also from Army Public Health Nursing, prepared nasal spray doses of the flu vaccine. The nasal spray called FluMist contains a weakened live flu virus, and can be given to patients from 2 to 49 years of age, while adults 50 and over receive an injection containing dead flu virus.

FORT SILL, Okla. -- Flu season will soon be upon this region and Reynolds Army Community Hospital wants to make sure everyone is protected against influenza.

Flu shots are now available through primary care providers or the RACH vaccination clinic. Most people who get influenza will not need medical care or antiviral drugs and will recover on their own.

However, it is best for people to get immunized against the flu, because if they aren't immunized and do get sick, there may not be enough medicines to treat them if a major flu outbreak occurs. So get immunized and maintain good health practices to avoid catching illnesses like the flu.

People with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease), children under age 5, adults over age 65, pregnant women or American Indians are most at risk to develop influenza complications and should consult with their primary care provider if they develop flu-like symptoms.

Common signs and symptoms of influenza are fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and feeling tired. Vomiting and diarrhea may occur and are more common in children.

If you think you are coming down with influenza, do the following:
- Cover your mouth when you cough. The preferred method is to cough into the bend of your elbow, not into your hand.
- Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Wash your hands with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid close contact with other people if at all possible.
- Stay at home from work or [JUMP]school and rest until your illness is over.

If you are in a high-risk category mentioned above, or your condition does not improve or if you have a severe form of illness, see your primary care provider as soon as possible.

If you haven't received the flu shot this year, you can still be vaccinated through your primary care provider or during the following walk-in times at the RACH vaccination clinic:
Mon. - 7:30 a.m. - noon.
Tues. - 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Wed. - 1-4 p.m.
Thurs. - 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Fri. - 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

People with children ages 6 months to 3 years old must take them to the RACH immunization clinic or their primary care providers. There will also be free flu shots given at the Main PX Food Court on Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Page last updated Thu September 19th, 2013 at 00:00