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General Flu Information

Cold and flu season is quickly approaching and here at Womack Army Medical Center we want to make sure that our customers are protected. We believe it is an honor and a privilege to care for you each day and we want to keep you and your loved ones as healthy as possible. Keeping you up to date on your immunizations and the best health information out there is a major part of that. As we begin the 2014-2015 Flu Season there may be some questions and concerns you may have.

What is flu?

How serious is flu really?

When does flu season start?

The flu vaccine gives me the flu.

I never get sick, why should I worry?

Who needs to get the vaccine?

Where and when can I get my vaccine?

What if I have side effects?

What is flu?
Flu is an illness caused by a variety of influenza viruses that circulate throughout the population. Flu can vary from minor illness to a life-threatening condition. Most of the symptoms we usually recognize are cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, fever, fatigue, body aches, chills and headaches.
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How serious is flu really?
The flu can be a very serious and unpredictable illness. In the United States about 5 to 20 percent of the population will get the flu each year and, more than 20,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications. There are anywhere between 3,000 to 49,000 deaths from flu-related causes each year. (On average 23,600)
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When does flu season start?
Flu usually occurs in the colder winter months of the year, in the US the flu most commonly peaks in January and February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May depending on the weather and the flu viruses each year. The Centers for Disease Control conducts ongoing surveillance and testing of influenza viruses and track the flu season from October to May with weekly updates on their website.
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The flu vaccine gives me the flu.
No, the flu shot does not give you the flu. The “flu shot”, (the injectable version) is an inactive or “dead” virus. Basically, it is like giving your body a wanted poster for the flu and saying “Keep an eye out for this virus and destroy it on sight.” It allows your body to make antibodies to the flu, which will help fight the virus if you come in contact with it. The Flu Mist is a live virus, but it is temperature regulated and cannot live in the body. Most of the time when people get sick after receiving the flu vaccine, it is because they were infected with the flu prior to getting the vaccine. The flu vaccine is made up of three viruses; the selection of the viruses to be included in the seasonal flu vaccine is based on flu trends. They select the viruses that are circulating the globe the most, in order to provide the best possible protection.
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I never get sick, why should I worry?
You may not get sick, but getting the flu vaccine isn’t just to protect you. Getting the flu vaccine also helps to protect the people you care about. Usually a healthy person can fight off the flu with few to no symptoms. That doesn’t mean that you will pass it to someone that will be able to fight it off, like your children or grandparents. So even if you don’t get the flu vaccine, you should get it to protect the people you care about.
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Who needs to get the vaccine?
Flu vaccination is recommended for those 6 months and older. There are a few groups that should definitely get it; People 65 years and older, children that are younger than 2 years old and people that have chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, congestive heart failure, lung disease, just to name a few.
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Where and when can I get my vaccine?
The flu vaccine will be available at your primary care clinic. If you are unable to get to your clinic, flu vaccine is also available, at no cost; at local off post Tricare covered pharmacies. You can call 1-877-363-1303 or visit online at www.express-scripts.com/TRICARE/pharmacy for information on participating retail pharmacies near you.
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What if I have side effects?
The Ft Bragg Regional Vaccine Healthcare Center (VHC) is available to assist patients and healthcare providers with consultation, diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of health problems after immunizations, VAERS reporting, and medical exemption assessment, if required. For appointments or questions, contact the Fort Bragg Regional Vaccine Healthcare Center at 910-432-4015. If medical issues arise after normal business hours or weekend, please contact the DoD Call Center at 1-866-210-6469. Additional information can be found on www.cdc.gov and www.flu.gov.
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If you would like further information on the flu or flu vaccine, please visit our “Helpful Links"