FALLS CHURCH, Va. (NNS) -- October is the unofficial start of flu season, and the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) wants to make sure all Sailors, Marines and beneficiaries are ready.
Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, Navy surgeon general and chief, BUMED; Rear Adm. C. Forrest Faison III, deputy surgeon general; and Force Master Chief Terry Prince, director of the Hospital Corps, received their flu shot at Defense Health Headquarters, Oct. 15.
By getting their flu shot early in the flu season Navy Medicine leaders aim to encourage all beneficiaries to do the same.
"It's important to get your flu shot. The readiness of our Sailors, Marines and their families is vital to the operational success of our Navy and Marine Corps team," Nathan said.
According to the Center for Disease Control, last year's flu season saw 125,462 positive tests for influenza, up 42 percent from 2013-2014. To help prevent the spread of the virus, Navy Medicine administers approximately 1.2 million flu vaccines every year.
The height of flu season is in December and January, but getting your flu shot early can help prevent the spread of the virus. Early action benefits Sailors, Marines, their families and the community.
"Getting your flu shot is in your own best interest and in the interest of those around you, including coworkers, family and friends," said Cmdr. Eric Deussing, head of Public Health, Emergency Preparedness and Response, BUMED.
Stressing the importance of taking the necessary precautions, Deussing says the flu vaccine is the single best way to protect against flu. Everyday preventive actions can also provide added defense against the flu virus.
"Hand washing is one of the most important things that people can do, in addition to limiting contact with sick people," he said.
While personal hygiene combined with other precautions, such as coughing into your sleeve and being aware of surfaces can help as well. Deussing encourages everyone to get their flu vaccines in order to prevent illness.
Navy Medicine military treatment facilities (MTFs) around the globe are preparing to administer the flu vaccine to more than one million Sailors, Marines and their families in 2015.
Navy Medicine beneficiaries can receive their flu shot at a local MTF or at a retail pharmacy free of charge.
For more information visit the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center by clicking HERE.
Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.
For more news from Navy Medicine, visit www.navy.mil/local/mednews/.