FORT LEE, Va. (Jan. 16, 2014) -- As the holidays fade into the months of winter, we enter the period commonly characterized as "cold and flu season," which usually peaks in January and February.

The "flu" is an unfortunately common disease caused by the influenza virus. It is spread primarily through sneezing and coughing.




After one to four days, a person who is infected with the flu will demonstrate symptoms that typically include a sudden fever, headaches, body aches and extreme fatigue.

Many people experience additional symptoms that include a dry cough, a sore throat and possibly a runny nose.

For most healthy adults, the flu runs its course in two to five days. Most everyone will get well on their own without any kind of lasting medical problems.

For some people who are at high risk (particularly seniors, pregnant women, children, under four years of age, and adults and children with chronic medical conditions) the flu can be more severe, causing pneumonias and other unfortunate complications.

Those who have developed symptoms and are at high risk and anyone who has difficulty breathing, is having chest or belly pain, is dizzy, confused or is having trouble holding down fluids should see a health care provider promptly.

It is important to remember that you can actively protect yourself from the flu. Wash your hands frequently and/or use an alcohol-based hand rub and stay away from those who are sick. But the best way of preventing the flu remains the yearly vaccination.

Each year, researchers work to predict the strains of influenza that are most likely to cause the disease and then develop vaccinations based on the results of their investigations.

The flu vaccine is safe, effective and is recommended yearly for all Americans over six months of age.

It is estimated that vaccines prevented more than 6 million cases of flu last year alone.

The Centers for Disease Control early reports suggested that Virginia is currently experiencing higher rates of influenza than much of the United States.

Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continues to occur as late as May; nevertheless, it's not too late to receive your vaccination. Most people develop immunity within two weeks of receiving the vaccine.

All of the Kenner clinics are offering the vaccination to all enrolled beneficiaries. Their vaccination schedules are as follows:

The Active Duty Clinic offers the seasonal flu vaccine to active duty Soldiers on a walk-in basis Monday-Friday, 1-3 p.m.

Troop Medical Clinic 1 will offer the seasonal flu vaccine from 6-8 a.m., Monday-Friday.

The Mosier Consolidated Troop Medical Clinic offers the seasonal flu vaccines from 1-4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Immunization Clinic in the Family Medicine Clinic offers the vaccine to walk-ins Monday-Friday from 7:15-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m. -- no appointment is needed.

The Immunization Clinic in Wilkerson Pediatric Clinic offers the vaccine to walk-ins Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9-11 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m.

The Occupational Health Clinic at Kenner provides flu vaccines to DOD Civilians every Wednesday, from 9-11 a.m. on the 2nd floor (B203). Civilians should be prepared to present their CAC card.

TRICAE covers both the flu shot and the nasal spray vaccine at no cost from a pharmacist at one of the 45,000 network pharmacies that administer vaccines to TRICARE beneficiaries. Find a participating pharmacy at www.express-scripts.com/tricare/pharmacy, or by calling Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303.

To learn more about the flu basics, treatment and prevention, visit www.cdc.gov/flu.

Get more information on TRICARE coverage and where to get vaccinated by visiting www.tricare.mil/flu.

Page last updated Thu January 16th, 2014 at 00:00