Take your best shot

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. N. DeShore-Osbourne
  • 908th Airlift Wing ASTS
Why is winter the season for colds, flu, etc.?

Seems like a reasonable question, doesn't it? Too bad there isn't a reasonable answer. All the research of the past three decades has succeeded in doing is undermining old wives' tales about wet feet causing colds and such without putting anything in their place. Flu season starts in October, so here is some basic information on this viral pest.

The Mass Flu vaccination will be Sunday of the November UTA, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the 908th ASTS/42 MDG lobby. Squadrons have each been assigned an hour for its personnel to report for vaccine. Mobile Immunization team will administer vaccines to APS and MXS at Bldg. 845. For your unit's specific time, contact the 908th ASTS.

2010-2011 Seasonal Flu Basics

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It spreads from person-to-person and can cause mild to severe illness; and in some cases, can lead to death.

In the United States, yearly outbreaks of seasonal flu usually happen during the fall through early spring.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year.

Flu viruses can cause illness in people of any age group. Children are most likely to get sick because their immune systems aren't strong enough to fight off the infection.
Some groups are more likely to have complications from the seasonal flu. These include:

· those age 65 and older

· children younger than 2 years old

· people of any age who have chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, asthma, congestive heart failure, lung disease)

Complications from the flu can include:

· bacterial pneumonia

· ear or sinus infections

· dehydration

· worsening of chronic medical conditions

Every year in the United States, on average:

· 5 to 20 percent of the population get the flu

· More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications

· About 36,000 people die from flu-related causes

Flu Viruses

There are three types of flu viruses: A, B and C. The A and B viruses cause epidemics (widespread outbreaks in a country) of infection in people every year in the United States.

· Type C infections cause mild respiratory illness and are not thought to cause epidemics.

· Type A viruses are divided into subtypes. Subtypes of type A that have been found in people worldwide include H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2 viruses.

· Flu viruses are constantly changing. A global flu pandemic (worldwide outbreak) can happen if three conditions are met:

· A new subtype of type A virus is introduced into the human population.

· The virus causes serious illness in humans.

· The virus can spread easily from person-to-person in a sustained manner.

· The H1N1 Flu met all three conditions and caused a worldwide outbreak. In late spring 2009, the WHO declared that a H1N1 flu pandemic was underway.

Flu Symptoms

· fever (usually high) · tiredness (can be extreme) · headache · dry cough · sore throat
· runny or stuffy nose · muscle aches

The following symptoms may occur, but are more likely in children than adults:

· nausea · vomiting · diarrhea
Is it a Cold or the Flu?

Flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Flu and the cold have similar symptoms (e.g. fever, sore throat). It can be difficult to tell the difference between them. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold.

Your doctor can give you a flu test within the first few days of your illness to determine whether you have the flu.

Symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense with the flu. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.

Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.