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NBHC Albany staff joins forces to combat flu season

By Verda L. Parker | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | November 19, 2015

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Feeling feverish, chills, coughing, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches? Having a combination of these symptoms may be early signs associated with the onset of the flu, according to some healthcare professionals.

Influenza season is in full swing and for personnel at Naval Branch Health Clinic Albany, at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, there’s a heightened sense of concern to ensure that installation personnel are protected from the potential risks.

Naval Branch Health Clinic Albany’s medical team is offering immunizations to the MCLB Albany community and is encouraging eligible personnel to take advantage of the health benefit.

“Naval Branch Health Clinic Albany is now offering the influenza vaccine to active-duty personnel, retired service members and to eligible beneficiaries,” Cmdr. Raymond Bristol, officer-in-charge, NBHC Albany, said. “We are administering the vaccine by (nasal) mist or shots, on a walk-in basis, during normal clinic hours, Mondays – Fridays, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.”

Shannon Thomas, team registered nurse, Primary Care/Immunization Clinic, NBHC Albany, discussed the importance of getting the immunization and urges the clinic’s “eligibles to get that flu shot.”

“The (official) flu season actually starts in September and goes through December,” Thomas said. “That’s the best time to get (the shot).

“We actually give immunizations up until June because the flu usually peaks around February and March,” she noted. “That’s mostly when we see high incidents of the flu. So, I administer it until the end of June. Anytime you can get the vaccine is good, but if you can get it in those early months, it’s even better.”

Thomas discussed some of the myths; common side effects associated with receiving the vaccine by either the nasal mist or by injection and the upside of getting immunized.

 “A lot of people think that the vaccine actually causes the flu, but it does not,” she added. “Sometimes (patients) are autoimmune compromised (a fundamental lack of nutrients that are essential to the functioning of your body) when they get the vaccine.

“Now, it does have side effects, but that’s with any medication,” she pointed out. “Some of the most common side effects with the injection is at the local site – redness, swelling, a little discomfort and sometimes a slight fever. With the flu mist, you may have nasal drainage, maybe coughing or a headache -– more like the cold symptoms.

“I feel like some protection is better than no protection,” Thomas concluded. “I think the benefits outweigh the side effects.”

Active-duty service members, who received the vaccine by nasal mist, commented on personal preferences and their experience with the vaccine.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Chloee Ward, X-ray technician, NBHC Albany, said she preferred the injection but received the mist instead.

“When I got the flu mist, it was a quick mist in my nose, painless,” she described. “I had no side effects, but I got the sniffles for a bit and felt like I had to sneeze. It lasted about 30 minutes to an hour. I think that probably goes along with it; but I didn’t get sick.

“To be honest, I would rather have taken the injection,” Ward admitted. “I was asked a series of questions and (because I answered) the questions a certain way, I got the flu mist. I thought I had an option, but was told the decision was made based on my responses.”

Master Sgt. Darrell Rogers, supply chief, Distribution Management Center, Marine Corps Logistics Command, said he prefers the flu mist.

“I get the vaccine every year -- for a couple of reasons,” Rogers said. “I have small children and with the sicknesses and germs being spread, I don’t want to get sick and pass it on to them or if they get sick have them pass it on to me.

“I prefer the mist and I never come down with any symptoms or side effects,” Rogers added. “My wife and children get the shots; it’s a personal preference. I can take either. I haven’t had the flu for a number of years so, it works for me. I recommend that everyone come in and get the vaccine.”

For more information on the flu and its symptoms, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/symptoms.htm.


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