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Get vaccinated to prevent flu

Flu vaccinations can be received at the Immunizations Clinic located in the 21st Medical Group main clinic. For information regarding the availability of the 2013-2014 influenza vaccine, call the flu information line at 556-3588.

Flu vaccinations can be received at the Immunizations Clinic located in the 21st Medical Group main clinic. For information regarding the availability of the 2013-2014 influenza vaccine, call the flu information line at 556-3588.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- As snow begins to sprinkle over Pikes Peak, we are reminded that autumn is here and winter is fast approaching. 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 or work.

While the 21st Medical Group has vaccinated more than 94 percent of active duty members at Peterson, Schriever and Cheyenne Mountain they want to remind family members of the importance and availability of the vaccination.

Influenza - commonly known as the flu -- is a contagious respiratory illness caused by strains of the influenza virus. 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 the elderly, 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 sleeve or a tissue whenever you sneeze or cough. However, the single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season.

There are two 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 as an injection. 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 age and health history.

Flu vaccinations can be received at the Immunizations Clinic located in the 21st Medical Group main clinic. For information regarding the availability of the 2013-2014 influenza vaccine, call the flu information line at 556-3588. Additional information about influenza can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm.

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