Post hospital still offering flu vaccination
January 17, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla.-- The flu season has made its presence known, but there is still time to protect yourself.
"This has been a moderately severe season so far, yet no worse than other moderately severe seasons we've had in the past," said Maj. Nathan Teague, chief of Preventive Medicine for Reynolds Army Community Hospital.
"What everybody sees reported on the news is the rate of influenza-like illness, which is not all influenza. During the first week of January in Oklahoma, around 20 percent of our samples were positive for influenza. This doesn't mean that influenza is not circulating, it's just not the predominant cause of influenza-like illness," he said.
Nevertheless, everybody should still seek to protect themselves from the currently circulating influenza.
"Immunization is the best prevention. Get immunized and maintain good hygiene practices to avoid contracting and spreading disease," Teague emphasized.
Most people who get influenza will have mild illness, will not need medical care or antiviral drugs and will recover on their own. 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 visit with their doctor if they have an influenza like illness.
Common signs or symptoms of influenza are fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, feeling tired, possible vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children).
People who believe they are coming down with an illness, should do the following:
Cover your mouth when you cough. The preferable method is to cough into the bend of your elbow, not into your hand.
Wash your hands with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
Drink plenty of water.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
If at all possible, avoid close contact with other people who are sick.
Stay at home from work or school and rest until your illness is over.
If you are in a high-risk category mentioned above and your condition does not improve, or if you have a severe form of illness, see your primary care provider as soon as possible.
For more information about the flu, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov, or the Oklahoma State Department of Health at www.ok.gov/health/index.html and click on "OK Flu View." You can also get updates for the Fort Sill community from RACH at wwwrach.sill.amedd.army.mil.