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Flu Information

Marine gets flu shot
Influenza (the flu)
is a contagious respiratory illness caused by several types and subtypes of viruses. One or more virus strains cause a surge in flu nearly every year, and can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The viruses undergo continuous genetic changes, so people don’t achieve permanent immunity. Vaccines must be updated every year to combat the anticipated predominant strains.

Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. 

181030-M-M0241-0006 Photo by Lance Cpl. Juan Anaya

Flu Types
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Seasonal flu—The illness that strikes every “flu season,” infect­ing 5%–20% of the U.S. population. Flu-related complications require 200,000 hospitalizations annually and kill 36,000 people on average. Flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May. Marines and family members should contact their local primary care provider to find out the schedule for local vaccinations.

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019.


Flu Prevention, Including Vaccination
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Prevention Tips

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw away the tissue. 
  • Do not share linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick without washing thorough­ly first.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Seasonal Flu Vaccine

  • Get vaccinated (flu shot) every year. The influenza vaccine is not ap­proved for children younger than 6 months of age.
  • People who have moderate-to-severe illness with or without a fever and people with a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome should consult a physician before getting vaccinated.
  • It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

(Source: CDC)

  • People with flu can spread it to others up to 6 feet away.
  • It is spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk.
  • Droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
  • Adults can infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may be contagious longer than 7 days.
  • Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body.
  • The flu usually comes on suddenly.
  • People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults

It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Set your own course through any hazard: stay informed, make a plan, build a kit.
Live Ready Marine Corps.

Where to Find Additional Information

The most current and authoritative information on flu is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm

CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus Websitehttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center Coronavirus Webpagehttps://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcphc/program-and-policy-support/Pages/Novel-Coronavirus.aspx

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center Websitewww.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcphc/Pages/Home.aspx

For travelers and those stationed abroad, important sources are: 

World Health Organizationhttp://www.who.int/topics/influenza/en/
U.S. Department of Statehttps://www.state.gov/ofm/emergency/influenza/

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