The flu season is upon us. Whether it's an uncommon strain such as H1N1 or just the latest seasonal influenza, the flu is a real threat to our mission, our families, and our way of life.
The health of our personnel is critical to do the mission of NORAD and USNORTHCOM. Under the National Response Framework, USNORTHCOM could be called upon to assist a primary federal agency such as the Department of Health and Human Services in response to a crisis like pandemic influenza. Now, more than ever, the health and welfare of service members, civilians, contractors and the families who support them is incredibly important.
NORAD and USNORTHCOM have been actively planning for the flu season. Influenza vaccine for seasonal flu shots have already been made available to military personnel; civilian personnel are highly encouraged to get vaccinated as well. H1N1 vaccine is a separate vaccine and is not yet available; when the H1N1 vaccine does become available, personnel will be notified.
So far, it does not appear that the H1N1 influenza has gotten more severe than when it first appeared in April 2009. This means that it will likely circulate this fall and cause illness much the same as seasonal influenza – most people will have a mild disease with fever, sore throat, and a cough that will last 1-4 days. However, some may experience severe, or even life-threatening, disease.
We all have the responsibility to take measures to protect ourselves, our families and others from infection. At home and day-to-day, personnel can take action to protect against infection. The first defense is the seasonal flu vaccine; frequent hand washing with soap and water and the use of hand sanitizers between washes; coughing or sneezing into your sleeve; maintaining a safe distance from sick people; and getting plenty of rest and exercise are all preventative measures personnel should take. In addition, if sick, personnel should stay home and avoid contact with other people.
The NORAD and USNORTHCOM Command Surgeon is continually monitoring the situation and ensuring preparations are made in case the flu season is particularly severe this year. Each NORAD and USNORTHCOM Director has been tasked to develop a Directorate Pandemic Influenza Plan.
Armed with a plan and current information, we shall maintain the ability of NORAD and USNORTHCOM to respond as a military force dedicated to defending our skies, defending our homelands and providing support to civil authorities if necessary.
Types of Influenza
INFLUENZA: Influenza is a viral disease that causes many illnesses each season. Estimates are that between 15% and 40% of the population will develop illness from influenza every year. The "flu" is a common catch-all term among the general public for a variety of illnesses, but it correctly applies only to the respiratory disease caused by the influenza virus.
PANDEMIC: A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. A flu pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and people have little or no immunity and no vaccinations exist. The disease spreads easily from person-to-person and can quickly sweep around the globe and across the country. Today's society is especially at risk for quick spread because of worldwide travel and trade. It is very difficult to predict when the next pandemic influenza will hit or how severe it will be, but we do know that once it hits, everyone around the world will be at risk. The last pandemic influenzas in history were in the 1960's, 1950's, 1910's and the worst was in 1918-1919 when a significant number of Americans died.
TYPES OF INFLUENZA:
For more information, visit:
Ways You Can Stay Healthy
For additional information on staying healthy, visit: http://www.pandemicflu.gov/individual/index.html#healthy
Signs and Symptoms
Initial Influenza Symptoms:
When to Seek Health Care
For additional information on what to do if you have signs and symptoms, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/sick.htm
Families and Individuals need to do their part to ensure that they are prepared for Pandemic Influenza.
It is also a good idea to have a list of emergency contacts available. These should include friends, family members, neighbors, and emergency services such as the police and fire department. Stock your pantry with the essential foods, medical items, and personal hygiene items. If PI hits this area, it is best to avoid public places such as grocery stores as much as possible; if you already have the “family emergency list” items on hand, you can avoid going to stores.
Items to have on hand for an extended stay at home:
For more information on preparing for an emergency, visit:
YOUR BEST PROTECTION from Influenza: VaccinesIndividuals are encouraged to get both vaccines as soon as possible.
The seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 (Swine) flu vaccine are separate vaccinations.
A seasonal vaccine is distributed routinely every year, the H1N1 (Swine) flu vaccine has been developed and produced for the 2009 flu season.
The seasonal vaccine is not expected to protect against the H1N1 (Swine) flu and the H1N1 (Swine) flu vaccine is not intended to replace the seasonal flu vaccine. Each protects against a different virus and is intended to be used along-side the other.
It is expected that there will be enough 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine for anyone who chooses to get vaccinated. However, certain groups have been identified as high priority to receive the H1N1 vaccine. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/highrisk.htm to learn if you are included.
The US federal government has procured 250 million doses of 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine. This quantity of vaccine accounts for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical trial data showing that children 6 months to 9 years of age will need two doses and persons 10 and older will need one dose.
Both the flu shot (in the arm) and nasal spray form of 2009 H1N1 vaccines have now been produced and licensed by the Food and Drug Administration. Distribution of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine began 5 Oct 09.
Military members will be advised when H1N1 vaccine is available.
For more information on the H1N1 vaccine, visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/public/vaccination_qa_pub.htm
For Colorado Public Health and Environment local guidance on where to get flu shots, visit: http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/Influenza/
For information on Peterson AFB vaccines, visit: http://www.peterson.af.mil/library/medicalgroup/allergyandimmunizations/index.asp
Questions and AnswersThe threat posed by a pandemic influenza is a significant force health protection issue.
Personnel must take measures now to remain healthy, and be well prepared in the event that they, or their family members, are affected by a pandemic flu virus.
Managers must anticipate and plan to ensure mission assurance and continuity of operations during a pandemic.
While it is far from certain the severity of the influenza this season, knowledge and planning are essential to ensuring the health of personnel and continuity of operations.
Pandemic planning requires that people not accustomed to responding to health crises understand the disease and the priorities required to prepare for and respond to these potential risks. Thus, many questions may exist.
(This link will open to the Attached Q & A)
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