TMC gears-up for upcoming flu season
November 15, 2010
- Flu season vaccination
The Troop Medical Clinic is geared-up to prevent infection by providing Soldiers, civilians and family members influenza vaccines as the flu season quickly approaches.
The flu is a pandemic virus, meaning it can be widespread throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world. That causes fever, chills, muscle aches, weakness and fatigue, coughing, sore throats and general discomfort. While the symptoms are common and can easily be confused with many other illnesses, such as the common cold, tests can be given to confirm cases of influenza.
There are two types of vaccines provided by the TMC, a shot, containing a dead virus, and a nasal mist, containing a live virus. Various factors determine who receives which type of vaccine. The elderly and young children, pregnant, and those with certain medical conditions should not receive the mist because their immune systems may become weakened by their condition and being exposed to the live virus could further weaken their immune systems.
Because the mist contains a live virus, "in a sort of weakened state," said 2nd Lt. Metacaum Evans, 19th ESC Environmental Science officer, "it's almost like the cousin of the flu. It's not going to put you down and make you sick like the flu, but it's related enough that it can create the same natural defense mechanisms," he continued.
When people become ill with the flu, "It raises the numbers of a category, of what is called disease and non-battle injury," said Evans. Unit readiness can be decimated when many people become ill with the flu because those Soldiers then become non-mission capable. In order to sustain unit readiness, while only the military personnel is required, everyone is encouraged to receive the flu vaccine.