It's that time of year.
Temperatures are dropping, leaves are turning colors and pumpkin-spiced treats are everywhere. Children are back to school and into a routine.
Another fall routine should include an annual flu shot. The flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from influenza.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the most important step to prevent the flu and its potentially serious complications.
Flu vaccines have been available for decades. Millions of people have safely received this vaccine to help reduce flu illness, prevent flu-related hospitalizations, prevent missed work and school days, and prevent death due to flu.
Other ways to prevent the flu include practicing good hand-washing, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, avoiding close contact with people when they are sick, and staying home if you are sick in order to avoid spreading the flu to other people.
Practicing healthy lifestyle choices are good habits to consider to reduce the risk of flu.
For optimal performance remember the three key components to the Army Performance Triad: sleep, activity and nutrition.
Get at least seven hours of quality sleep every night.
Be sure to make smart food choices. Eat six to eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Maximize your intake of vitamins, minerals and other protective properties found in plants by including a rainbow of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity weekly, two to three body-strength training sessions weekly, and 10,000 steps in your day.
Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center will offer free flu vaccines to TRICARE Beneficiaries this fall.
Future announcements will include specific dates, times and locations for active-duty service members, retirees and family members (not enrolled in USHFP) to receive a flu vaccination.
USHFP members can go to various pharmacies or should schedule an appointment with their primary care manager to receive a flu vaccination.
For more information about seasonal flu, talk to your health care provider or visit the Center for Disease Control flu website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/