By Maria YagerJanuary 16, 2019
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Flu season is here but there are measures individuals can take to reduce the risk of getting sick.
"The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get an annual flu vaccination," said Maj. Simone Edwards, chief of public health nursing at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital. "The flu vaccine can reduce an individual's chance of getting the flu or reduce the severity because the vaccine prompts the body into creating antibodies that will fight off the virus."
The flu vaccine is available free of charge at the hospital or participating network pharmacies to all military healthcare beneficiaries. Historically, February is the month with the most reported cases so Edwards said there is still time to get vaccinated before the season picks up.
Influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness and even death. Young children, the elderly are considered to be most at risk. The flu typically comes on quickly and can include fever, muscle and body aches and tiredness. Practicing good health habits can stop cold and flu germs from spreading and reduce the risk of illness.
"In addition to getting the vaccine, regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs including your hands, cell phones, door knobs and keyboards can help keep people from getting sick," said Edwards. She also recommends keeping your body in good condition to fight illness by getting plenty of rest, eating a nutritious diet, regular physical activity and drinking plenty of fluids.
Currently, most beneficiaries assigned to BACH may receive the vaccine as a walk-in service at their assigned medical home or during a scheduled appointment. Children under 2 years and pregnant women must see their primary care provider for vaccination.
"Our goal is to vaccinate 100 percent of our beneficiary population," said Col. Gordon Prairie, chief of the hospital's department of primary care.
Walk-in hours for BACH medical homes are available online at
Beneficiaries Assigned to Providers Outside of BACH
TRICARE beneficiaries assigned to a network primary care provider off post may ask to receive the flu vaccine from their assigned primary care manager. If their assigned healthcare provider does not offer the flu vaccine as a TRICARE-covered benefit, patients may receive the influenza vaccine with no copayment at participating retail network pharmacies. To find a participating pharmacy, visit https://www.expressscripts.com/TRICARE/pharmacy/findpharmacy.shtml or call 1-877-363-1303.