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Flu vaccine available beginning Oct. 15

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Gen. John Hyten, Air Force Space Command commander, receives his flu shot from Tech. Sgt. Christopher Corley, 21st Medical Operations Squadron. Active Duty and other beneficiaries (including retirees) age 3 years and older can attend the mass flu line at the Peterson Youth Center gym from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 15 for their flu vaccine. The Immunization clinic will have flu vaccine for all beneficiaries beginning 16 Oct.  (courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Gen. John Hyten, Air Force Space Command commander, receives his flu shot from Tech. Sgt. Christopher Corley, 21st Medical Operations Squadron. Active Duty and other beneficiaries (including retirees) age 3 years and older can attend the mass flu line at the Peterson Youth Center gym from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 15 for their flu vaccine. The Immunization clinic will have flu vaccine for all beneficiaries beginning 16 Oct. (courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- As snow begins to sprinkle over the top of Pikes Peak, we are reminded that autumn has approached us. This time of the year also reminds us that flu season is forthcoming. Ensuring you and your loved ones are vaccinated against the flu viruses will prevent flu-related illnesses as well as missed school, and missed work.

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. This virus can infect the nose, throat and lungs. People with the flu often experience symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.  It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with a weakened immune system, are at a higher risk for serious flu complications.

The flu virus is believed to spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze, talk or sing. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Therefore, it is very important to wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth with your arm whenever you sneeze or cough. However, the single best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine each season.

Some actions you can take to reduce the risk of infection are:
· Boost you immune system by getting rest, exercising & maintaining a healthy diet
· Wash your hands for 20-30 seconds lathered with soap and warm water.
· Sneeze into your elbow or Kleenex and always wash your hands afterwards
· Avoid close contact with other sick individuals
· Be vaccinated as early in the season as possible

There are different types of flu vaccinations available; the flu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine. Both vaccinations are equally effective. The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle. The nasal-spray is made with live, weakened flu viruses that are given as a nasal spray (sometimes called LAIV for "Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine"). An immunization technician will be able to determine which vaccination is appropriate for you based on your specific personal demographics. Per CDC guidelines, flu vaccine is recommended for all individuals age 6 months and older.

Peterson has received a limited shipment of vaccine so far. Active Duty and other beneficiaries (including retirees) age 3 years and older are encouraged to attend the mass flu line at the Peterson Youth Center gym on Oct. 15 from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. for their flu vaccine. Individuals with high-risk medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, etc) should visit the Immunization clinic as soon as possible for their vaccine; they are also welcome to attend the flu line on Oct. 15. The Immunization clinic (open from 7:30 to noon & 1-4 p.m.) will have flu vaccine for all beneficiaries beginning Oct. 16.  To avoid long lines though, we highly recommend getting vaccinated at the Youth Center on Oct. 15. For updates on vaccine availability, please call the flu information line at 719-556-3588 (556-FLUU). Additional information about Influenza can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm. 

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