By Emily Brainard, Army Flier StaffOctober 14, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- As influenza season approaches, Lyster Army Health Clinic officials emphasize the importance of obtaining vaccinations early to protect against illness.
Currently, Lyster offers the vaccine to active-duty personnel only, due to limited availability. Soldiers unable to obtain shots at the clinic can request an off-post referral from their provider.
Other Tricare beneficiaries can go to network pharmacies without referrals and obtain free vaccines by showing their ID cards.
Taking this small step can help keep people healthy this autumn and winter.
"Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. We strongly recommend everyone get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from this virus," said Lt. Col. (P) Wendy Campbell, LAHC deputy commander for Nursing and Patient Support Services.
"The flu vaccine is recommended for individuals 6 months of age and older. This vaccine helps build your immune system to be more resistant to getting influenza," she said.
Basic hygiene - like frequent handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes - can also help prevent the spread of disease, she said.
The CDC's Web site, www.cdc.gov, states U.S. flu activity commonly peaks in January or February, but protecting oneself now is important. Flu seasons' severity varies each year and depends on many unpredictable factors. Flu vaccines have between 70 and 90 percent effectiveness in preventing the disease in adults.
For more information regarding influenza and vaccines, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/other_flu.htm.