Flu season is here: are you ready?

Tech Sgt. Robert Carpenter, 59th Medical Wing Immunizations Clinic licensed vocational nurse, administers the influenza vaccine to a patient.

Tech Sgt. Robert Carpenter, 59th Medical Wing Immunizations Clinic licensed vocational nurse, administers the influenza vaccine to a patient, Nov. 5, 2020, in Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center at the Immunizations Clinic, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Getting a flu shot annually helps reduce the overall impact of contagious respiratory illnesses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Melody Bordeaux)

An influenza vaccine sits with a syringe on a medical tray

An influenza vaccine sits with a syringe on a medical tray prior to being administered to a patient, Nov. 5, 2020, in Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center at the Immunizations Clinic, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of illness and hospitalization from complications of the virus. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Melody Bordeaux)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --

Moving into flu season, patients who haven't gotten the vaccine, there's still time. Flu season peaks in December and runs through February.

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention an annual flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against the flu, and its benefits include reducing the risk of illnesses, hospitalizations, and flu related deaths," said Staff Sgt. Mechea Randolph, 59th Medical Wing Allergy Clinic mixing lab noncommissioned officer.

If you experience symptoms such as a fever and body aches, testing for the flu is available in the parking garage of Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center. Testing and vaccinating against the virus protects patients and those they may come in contact with.

"By lessening the amount of flu that's in the community, since it's less prevalent, then there's less chance of it being spread to others," explained Maj. (Dr.) Derek Smith, 59th MDW Immunizations Clinic medical director.

An annual vaccine is recommended because, as with any virus, the flu changes and adapts, creating different strands throughout the years. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention monitors influenza activity year-round in the United States.

Additionally, getting the flu vaccine is not the only way to protect against a virus and stay healthy.

"Do everything you can to take care of yourself, not just getting the flu shot alone," said Randolph. "Good hand hygiene, making sure when you cough and sneeze you're doing so into your elbow and not your hand, and even in doing that, still hand washing or hand sanitizing afterwards."

Remember, it's important that if you are experiencing symptoms you get tested, stay home and seek treatment.

 
 
  
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