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    Naval Hospital Bremerton is preparing to stick it to you



    Story by Douglas Stutz 

    Naval Hospital Bremerton

    Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) is preparing to stick it to you.

    NHB’s Preventive Medicine team, along with Immunization Clinic and Branch Health Clinics (BHC) Bangor and Everett are taking a concerted and collaborative jab in providing the annual influenza vaccinations to all beneficiaries in need.

    NHB will have available flu vaccines at the main facility and BHC Bangor and BHC Everett targeted for the most vulnerable groups of pediatric patients 6 months to 35 months and patients 65 and older.

    According to Lt. Rohan A. Jairam, Environmental Health Officer and Preventive Medicine Department head, immunization remains the primary method of reducing seasonal influenza illness and its complications. The seasonal influenza vaccine not only helps protect vaccinated individuals, but also helps protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of the disease.

    “Getting vaccinated helps protect you once the flu season starts in your community. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, and missed work and school due to the illness,” stressed Jairam.
    As is the annual case, NHB will also provide shot exercises (SHOTEX) – mass influenza vaccinations - to targeted audiences.

    Annual Flu Shot for Pediatric beneficiaries and patients 65 and older will be provided: October 28-29, 2019, BHC Bangor, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    Annual Flu Shot for active duty personnel only:
    Nov. 4-6, 2019, BHC Bangor, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Annual shot exercise for all eligible TRICARE beneficiaries:
    Nov. 17-23, 2019, Branch Health Education Center, 2850 Thresher Ave, Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

    Active duty can also receive the vaccination during that time and vaccines will be available for all those in need and unable to be vaccinated during the walk-in clinic with their primary care provider at NHB and branch health clinic(s).

    The flu vaccination is a covered benefit and TRICARE will be directly billed if beneficiaries need to be vaccinated prior any of the above dates.

    Dr. Dan Frederick, NHB Population Health and Forecasting expert, points out that just as it is important for military personnel who live and work in close quarters to receive the vaccine, it is also highly advised for school-aged children, as they come into close contact with each other and can easily spread the influenza virus.

    “Influenza is not the common cold. It can be a life-threatening disease that especially can put specific groups in jeopardy,” explained Frederick. “While certainly people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are at increased risk, as are those over 65 and young children, pregnant women would be at the top of my list. Pregnancy changes the body's immune response and heart and lung function to make them more susceptible to becoming infected. If they are infected, they can become much more ill.”

    According to the CDC, severe illness during pregnancy can also be dangerous to the developing baby because it increases the chance for significant problems, such as premature labor and delivery.

    Frederick also attests that there are four ‘c’s’ to consider during this flu season – clean, cover, contain and call.

    Clean: Wash your hands. As often as possible. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
    Cover: Cover your cough and sneeze. Always. But not with your hands. Use your shoulder, upper arm, or crook of your elbow.
    Contain: Contain germs by steering clear of others who are sick. If ill, stay home until well to avoid spreading germs.
    Call: Contact/visit your provider if you or your child has a fever greater than 100 degrees.

    “Hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to mitigate the spread of the flu virus. The reason why hand-hygiene is continually stressed not just in a hospital but in everyday routine is that people often become infected with influenza when they touch something with influenza viruses on it and then touch their mouth or nose,” Frederick added, noting that one of the challenging aspects of flu is that someone who becomes infected can infect others one day before they have symptoms and up to five days after becoming sick.

    NHB advocates multiple steps that anyone and everyone can do daily to mitigate the potential spread of the flu such as always practicing good hygiene and managing workforce exposure - social distancing, tele-working, sick leave, etc. - as effective methods to reduce the risk of spreading influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites that influenza is thought to spread mainly from people touching something with influenza viruses on it and then touching their mouths or noses.

    One of the challenging aspects of flu is that someone who becomes infected can infect others one day before they have symptoms and up to five days after becoming sick. Influenza usually causes mild to severe illness, and uncommonly can lead to death. Symptoms of influenza include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, chills, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches. Stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea also can occur but are more common in children than adults. Traditionally, seasonal flu impacts the elderly and the young.

    Naval Hospital Bremerton follows CDC recommendations for protection from the flu:
    - Avoid close contact with people who are sick, when you are sick, and keep your distance from others to protect them from also getting sick.
    - If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick.
    You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
    - Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
    - Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
    - Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his/her eyes, nose or mouth.



    Date Taken: 10.16.2019
    Date Posted: 10.16.2019 09:24
    Story ID: 347805
    Location: BREMERTON, WA, US 

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