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Flu activity on the rise

Maj. Aaron Drenth, Armament Directorate, receives his influenza vaccine from Senior Master Sgt. Melanie Collins, 96th Medical Group, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Oct. 11.  The flu shots are being administered this week during the 2016 mass influenza vaccine campaign at the 413th Flight Test Squadron headquarters, Bldg. 439. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kevin Gaddie)

(U.S. Air Force photo/Kevin Gaddie)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- In the United States, influenza (flu) activity has increased significantly over recent weeks.  The 96th Medical Group and local hospital emergency departments are seeing an increase in flu illness. 

Common symptoms of flu include fever (100F or greater), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. 

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, the 96th Medical Group recommends the following actions to protect its beneficiary population and prevent the spread of flu.

Get a flu vaccination.

If you haven’t already, get a flu vaccination.  A flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people, and if sick yourself, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.  If possible, stay at home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.  Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.  Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and discard used tissues in the trash.  Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent the spread of germs.  Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

Most healthy people who get the flu can recover at home with supportive care (hydration, rest, over the counter medications, etc.) and do not need to be treated with antiviral drugs.  However, if you have severe illness or are at high risk of serious flu complications and get the flu, you should seek medical care.  Your doctor may decide to treat you with flu antiviral drugs.  High risk individuals include people who are immunocompromised, people with chronic, severe, or complicated illnesses, children younger than 2 years, adults age 65 and older, and residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities.  Please contact your Primary Care Team or the 24-hour Tricare Nurse Advice Line for questions and concerns at (800) 874-2273, option 1.