[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                   October 24, 2008

Flu immunizations for federal civilian employees set Nov. 4, 6

The Fort McCoy Occupational Health Clinic, building 1679, will host flu immunization clinics Tuesday, Nov. 4 and Thursday, Nov. 6 for garrison civilian employees (Department of Defense). The clinics will run from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. each day, with first-come, first-served.

Contract employees are not eligible to participate in these clinics and should contact their employers or healthcare providers to get flu immunization information. Military personnel should contact their unit administrators or chain of command for flu immunization information.

Barb Stafslien, Fort McCoy Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner, said everyone can take the three steps recommended to fight the flu.

First, take time to get the flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention recommend a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.

While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. The vaccine can protect recipients from getting sick from these three viruses or it can make an illness milder if you get a different flu virus.

Second, take everyday preventive actions. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash immediately after use.

Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective. Try to avoid close contact with sick people. If you get the flu, CDC officials recommend that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth because this can spread germs.

Third, take flu antiviral drugs if your healthcare provider recommends them. If you do get the flu, antiviral drugs are an important treatment option, however, they are not a substitute for vaccinations.

Antiviral drugs are prescription medication (pills, liquid, or an inhaler) that fight the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body.

Antiviral drugs can make an illness milder and make you feel better faster. They also may prevent serious flu complications. This is especially important for people at high risk, such as the elderly, children or people with compromised immune systems, such as those with chronic diseases.

For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started within two days after getting sick. Flu symptoms include high fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches.

The best treatment is to take action and protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu, Stafslien said. More information also is available at the CDC Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/flu.

For more information about flu vaccinations for civilian employees and other health topics, civilian personnel in the Fort McCoy community can call Occupational Health at (608) 388-2414/3209.

(Submitted by Fort McCoy Occupational Health Office.)


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