SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras, –
Members of Joint Task Force-Bravo who have not already received the 2013-2014 seasonal flu vaccine are required to do so as soon as possible in order to prevent the spread of the flu virus here.
The Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element (MEDEL) is providing the flu vaccine to every member who has not been previously vaccinated.
"We have been working non-stop since we received the vaccine," said U.S. Army Capt. Aimee Gregory, MEDEL officer in charge of community health. "We will not rest until everyone is vaccinated."
According to Gregory, the flu is a year-round threat in a tropical climate such as the one in Honduras. The virus is dangerous, and can cause very healthy people to become sick enough to be hospitalized and, in some cases, even cause death.
Because of this threat, the vaccination effort is ongoing. Gregory said JTF-Bravo members should not avoid getting the vaccine, and they shouldn't let concern about potential side effects of the vaccine stop them.
"There can be mild side effects associated with the flu vaccine, including minor, temporary soreness at the site of injection or low grade fever and aches," said Gregory. "These are generally minimal and are easily treated with ice, over-the-counter pain relievers, or simply some time. Also, these occasional side effects are minimal compared to the serious health effects associated with getting the flu."
Gregory said there are measures JTF-Bravo members can take to minimize their risk of catching the flu as well as to avoid spreading the virus.
"Make sure you, your co-workers and your friends receive the flu vaccine every year," she said. "Cover your cough, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer, wipe contaminated surfaces down with antibacterial products, which are effective against the flu virus. Also, seek immediate medical attention at MEDEL if you feel sick."
During this week, MEDEL is traveling to each individual unit to conduct vaccinations, and will continue to do so until all vaccinations have been completed.