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VA Medical Centers Offer Free Flu Shots

Armen Hareyan's picture

It’s getting colder outside and that means that flu season is upon us once again. Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It can result in mild to severe illness and, at times, can lead to death.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination shots each year before the flu season progresses. Every year in the United States, about 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications each year, and; about 36,000 people a year die from the flu. Certain people, such as the elderly, young children and people with chronic health conditions, such as disabled veterans, are at high risk for serious flu complications.

Many, but not all, VA medical centers and outpatient clinics around the country are offering free flu shots to veterans. To find out whether a VA medical facility near you is giving flu shots, you will need to contact the facility directly. Click on http://www1.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp?isFlash=1 for contact information for VA medical centers in your area.

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Besides getting a flu shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend these guidelines to reduce the chance of getting and spreading the flu.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Wash your hands frequently with soap for 15-20 seconds (about the same time as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice). Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

With a flu shot and good health habits, you can stay healthier all flu season long.

Reported by Vets First.