Tripler Prepares for Flu Season
August 18, 2014
August is National Immunization Awareness Month and Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC) is promoting the importance of immunizations, including the influenza vaccination.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, influenza, otherwise known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that can cause mild to severe illnesses and can result in hospitalization or death.
"Although we don't traditionally think of it as a killer, it can be particularly devastating to those that are immune compromised, in poor health, very young or the elderly. It can also strongly impact an organization as people who get a moderate or severe case of the flu can miss multiple days of work," stated Staff Sgt. Michael Schlag, Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of Allergy Immunization, TAMC.
The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get the flu shot early to help protect against the most active strains of the flu all year round.
In addition, the vaccine is strongly recommended for all pregnant women regardless of what trimester they are in.
Although Hawaii influenza trends show the majority of cases happen over a three month (winter-spring) time frame, the amount of international visitors to the island creates the need to be vigilant throughout the year.
"As all of us know, Hawaii is a top tourist destination. We get people coming from all over the world all year long. Flu season in other parts of the world does not always match what we traditionally see in the U.S.," stated Schlag.
Influenza symptoms may include abrupt onset of fever, muscle pain, sore throat, nonproductive cough, runny nose, and headache that generally last two to three days will be developed by fifty percent of infected persons.
"Making sure you get your yearly influenza vaccination will help ensure you not only protect yourself, but those around you. The better the protected the population is as a whole, the less chance that influenza can quickly pass amongst the people that live here," stated Schlag.
For information on getting your flu shot contact your Primary Care Manager and visit facebook.com/TriplerArmyMedicalCenter.
You can also call the 24-hour nurse advice line at 1-800-TRICARE.