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Today's Focus:

Influenza Vaccinations Protect Against Seasonal Flu and H1N1

SENIOR LEADERS ARE SAYING

"But I do believe that ... a properly resourced counterinsurgency probably means more forces and, without question, more time and more commitment to the protection of the Afghan people and to the development of good governance."

- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee about the formal appeal for more forces from Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan

Gates weighs need for more troops in Afghanistan

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Year of the Noncommissioned Officer

"I am a Soldier. I'm not an emotional leader, but I happen to be a woman. And I do have to work a little bit harder. When somebody tells me I can't do something or a female can't do something, I am going to excel. I'm going to complete the task better than them and put them back in their place."

- Sgt. 1st Class Charise Kelly, Forward Arming and Refueling Point (FARP) Observer Controller for Headquarters Company Joint Multinational Readiness Center Falcon Team, dismisses those who say women's leadership style differs from that of men and has worked hard to earn the respect from her male counterparts

NCO uses diverse experience to train Soldiers for combat

CALENDAR

2009 Commemorations :

Year of the NCO

Year of the Military Family

100th Anniversary of the Chaplain Assistant

September 2009

National Preparedness Month

Sept. 15 - Oct. 15: National Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept. 17- 18: Medal of Honor Ceremonies for Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti

Sept. 18: POW/MIA Recognition Day

Sept. 27: Gold Star Mother's Day

PROFESSIONAL WRITING

Army Professional Writing

TODAY'S FOCUS

Influenza Vaccinations Protect Against Seasonal Flu and H1N1

What is it?

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

Novel H1N1 influenza is a newly detected flu virus that has gained the ability to spread easily from person to person. The novel H1N1 flu so far has been no more severe than seasonal flu.

An effective vaccine is the best means of defense against these two diseases.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency regarding novel H1N1 influenza. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic, with more than 94,000 cases of novel H1N1 influenza recorded around the world by mid-summer.

Seasonal influenza annually sends more than 200,000 people to the hospital and kills more than 30,000 people in the U.S.

Soldiers on sick call are not on duty, so a contagious disease such as influenza poses a threat to military readiness. If flu pandemic becomes a major health emergency, the Army may be called on to assist civilian health agencies. A well-vaccinated military force can help reduce the spread of the virus in their area of operations or local civilian community.

What is the Army doing?

Vaccinations for both forms of flu are mandatory for military personnel and some civilian employees. Seasonal flu vaccine is available and being administered now in many military medical treatment facilities (MTF). H1N1 vaccine should be available in October, after approval by the Food and Drug Administration. It is highly recommended that family members, retirees and employees also be vaccinated. TRICARE covers the seasonal flu shot for beneficiaries, as long as it is administered in a doctor’s office. The H1N1 vaccine will be at no cost as it is being purchased and provided by the federal government.

What should I do?

In addition to vaccination, people can prevent spread of either strain of flu by:
• Covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
• Washing hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective.
• Avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Avoiding close contact with people who have flu-like symptoms.
• Staying home if they become sick, until 24 hours after the fever is gone. This will avoid infecting others.

Resources:

DoD Pandemic Influenza Watchboard

U.S. Army Medical Department Web site

Military Vaccine (MILVAX) Agency

Related blogs:

H1N1: Personal responsibility is key to prevention wash your hands frequently and stay home if you are sick

Keeping yourself healthy

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