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DoD's New Top Doc Urges Flu Shots for All

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2001 – DoD's top doc got his flu shot Nov. 14 and quipped that he felt better already.

Dr. Bill Winkenwerder, the recently confirmed assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, urged everyone in the DoD family to get a flu shot this year.

Getting a flu shot is important for everybody to do every year, especially the elderly and people with chronic illness, Winkenwerder said. He noted these groups are more at risk of serious illness sometimes caused by the influenza virus.

He said DoD's supply of flu vaccine is "looking pretty good." He expects all military installations to have their supplies by late November. The department ordered 3 million doses this year, he said, "And we're hoping to use them all up."

Winkenwerder noted that the public generally thinks of flu as a mild disease, but in fact it can be serious. "About 20,000 people in the United States die every year of influenza," he said. "That's a bit of a frightening thought." The best way to counter that risk is to get a flu shot, he added.

"I'm a big believer in prevention and preventive health," he said. "Getting a flu shot is one of the very best and easiest ways to prevent illness."

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever rare in adults and older children, but can be as high as 102° F in infants and small children usually 102° F, but can go up to 104° F and usually lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache rare sudden onset and can be severe
Muscle aches mild usual, and often severe
Tiredness and Weakness mild can last two or more weeks
Extreme exhaustion never sudden onset and can be severe
Runny nose often sometimes
Sneezing often sometimes
Sore throat often sometimes
Cough mild hacking cough usual, and can become severe

Chart courtesy of Centers for Disease Control Questions & Answers on the 2001- 02 Flu Season Web site

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Related Sites:
Centers for Disease Control Flu Season 2001-02 Web site

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