Autumn means Flu season is upon us

  • Published
  • By Major Marlon Garzo Saria
  • 452nd AMDS

As certain as the maple leaves turn to orange in Fall of every year, so does your Individual Medical Readiness (IMR) turn yellow in October. The start of the Fall season marks the time when all service members are required to get the flu vaccine, more commonly referred to as the “flu shot”. While the arrival of Fall is certain, the experiences may be different, as we have all observed this year when we endured record-breaking heat waves here in Southern California. Similarly, while the requirements to receive the flu shot remain unchanged, the situation was different- we had to delay the administration of the flu shot due to late delivery of supplies.


We are counting on every single Airman on March Air Reserve Base to take an active role in protecting yourself from the flu virus. This year's annual flu shot will offer protection against the H1N1 and H3N2 viruses in addition to two other influenza viruses that are expected to be in circulation this flu season. It is important to remember that getting the flu shot often protects you from coming down with the flu. While the flu shot does not completely guarantee total protection, it is worth getting.


It takes up to two weeks for the immune system to develop after receiving the flu vaccine, so it is important for you and your family to factor in the holidays in your decision to receive the flu shot. No one wants to be sick during the holidays, and you wouldn’t want to get grandma and grandpa sick either.


According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the most often used reasons to not get the flu shot is the fear of getting the flu virus from the vaccine. According to Dr. Tosh from the Mayo Clinic, “'There isn't any live virus in the influenza vaccine so it's impossible to get the flu from the vaccine”.


So why then do we get sick around the time we receive the flu shot?


We are as likely to get the common cold when we get the flu shot as we would be if we had not received the shot. In short, we always remember getting the flu shot when we catch a cold a few days later, and we tend to connect the two events in our minds. The fact is that study after study shows less than minimal risk from the flu shot.


The Medical Group will set up a flu clinic during the A and B Unit Training Assembly (UTA) through January 2018 at Building 355, except during the December B UTA, when the flu clinic will be at Building 2300 (452nd AMDS). The flu clinic in Building 355 will be open from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays of the UTA.