An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Fight the Flu –It starts with you!

  • Published
  • By Greg Chadwick
  • Air Force Materiel Command Health & Wellness Team

Concerned about catching the flu? We are all at risk for getting and spreading the flu. Learn how to fight the flu – it starts with you!

What is the flu?

Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system – your nose, throat, and lungs. Influenza is commonly called the flu, but it’s not the same as the stomach “flu” viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting.

How does the flu spread?

Influenza viruses travel through the air in droplets when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes, or talks. You can inhale the droplets directly, or you can pick up the germs from an object- such as a doorknob or table - and then transfer the viruses to your eyes, nose, or mouth. Flu germs can linger on surfaces for up to 8 hours.

What are symptoms of the flu?

Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:

  • -Fever
  • -Body aches
  • -Chills and sweats
  • -Headache
  • -Sore throat
  • -Coughing
  • -Runny or stuffy nose
  • -Extreme fatigue
  • -Eye pain


Most people who get the flu recover completely in one to two weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life-threating medical complications, such as pneumonia.

What’s the difference between a cold and flu?

The common cold and flu are both contagious viral infections of the respiratory tract. Although the symptoms can be similar, flu is much worse. Colds usually develop slowly, whereas the flu tends to come on suddenly. With the flu, you are likely to run a fever for several days and have body aches, fatigue, and exhaustion, symptoms that are rarely caused by simple colds.

Why should I get vaccinated against the flu?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual vaccination for everyone age 6 months or older as the best way to protect against the flu.

“A flu vaccine will not provide 100% protection from getting the flu but can reduce the amount of time you’re sick and the severity of your illness or the potential for hospitalizations,” said Lt. Col. Michael Renkas, AFMC Command Public Health Officer. “To be truly effective, it can take several days to a couple weeks for your body to elicit a more extensive immune response from a flu vaccine.” 

Renkas advises individuals to get a flu vaccination well in advance of the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday to protect themselves, their family and peers upon returning to the workplace.

Can flu shots cause the flu?

The flu shot is made from dead viruses and cannot “give” you the flu. However, the vaccine can trigger an immune response from your body, so you may have a few mild symptoms, like achy muscles or a low-grade fever.

Where can I get a flu vaccine? 

Influenza vaccinations for all military members are a mandatory requirement, and available through each installation’s Medical Group or at any participating TRICARE eligible pharmacies. TRICARE beneficiaries are also eligible for flu shots through immunization clinics on base, or at no cost at TRICARE eligible pharmacies. For the civilian workforce, all Federal Employee Health Benefit plans cover flu shots at no cost for members and are available at local retail pharmacies. You can find a flu vaccine location through

Go to:

  • -Select "Find Flu Vaccines" at the top of the page
  • -Enter your 5-digit zip code
  • -Check your "Vaccine Options"
  • -Select "Search for Flu Vaccines" to find a preferred location

[Click on the location for further details and contact information]

What are everyday healthy habits to help protect against the flu?

  1. 1.  Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based rub.
  2. 2.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and touches his/her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  3. 3.  Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk.
  4. 4.  Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  5. 5.  Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause the flu at home and work.
  6. 6.  Avoid large crowds. If you’re able to limit contact with people during flu season, you can reduce your risk of getting an infection.
  7. 7.  Strengthen your immune system. A strong immune system helps your body fight off infections. To build your immunity, sleep at least 7-9 hours per night. Also, maintain a regular physical activity routine-at least 30 minutes, three times a week. In addition, follow a healthy, nutrient-rich eating plan. Limit sugar, junk foods, and fatty foods. Instead, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, which are full of vitamins and antioxidants, to promote good health.


For more information on preventing the flu, visit or contact your local Civilian Health Promotion Services team. Comprehensive information on healthy habits to prevent the flu can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at






Edwards provides care, opportunities for children aged six weeks through high school graduation

Edwards provides care, opportunities for childrenaged six weeks through high school graduation

The Child and Youth Program at Edwards AFB provides care and opportunities for kids ages six weeks old through high school graduation. A brief summary of those services follows:

  •                    The Child Development Center cares for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, with a DOD-wide curriculum. The curriculum is focused on learning through play activities supporting social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Installations across DOD follow the curriculum on the same timeline to allow seamless permanent change-of-station transitions for youth enrolled in care.
  •                    The School Age Center provides before and after-school care and summer camp for children ages 5 to 12. During school breaks, full-day camps are offered. SAC promotes cognitive, social, emotional, cultural, language and physical development through programs that encourage self-confidence, curiosity, self-discipline and resiliency.
  •                    The open recreation program at the Main Youth Center provides a safe space for ages 9 to 12 to attend after school. Programs include Power Hour, STEM, Torch Club, social recreation, youth camps, special events and more.
  •                    The youth sports program provides intro and league opportunities for ages 3 to 12, and promotes inclusiveness, self-discipline, commitment, resiliency and social skills. There are four sports offered annually for ages five to 12: baseball/softball, soccer, flag football and basketball. Smart start programs are available to ages 3 to 5. There are many other sports and camps offered throughout the year.
  •                    The Teen Center is available for ages 13 to 18 during the school year. Programs offered include Military Youth of the Year, Keystone Club, social recreation, STEM activities, college trips, leadership camps and more.
  •                    Youth programs (SAC, open rec and teen) are affiliated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and 4-H.
  •                    Family Child Care homes – there are currently three FCC homes on the installation. They can provide care for ages two weeks to 12 years. FCC providers are trained by Child and Youth Program training and curriculum specialists and have the flexibility to determine their hours of operation and the ages of youth within their care. The program’s new dedicated manager, Jennifer Stegmann, may be reached at 661-275-7529.

Although CDC enrollment capacity is 317, not all slots are currently filled because of a shortage of childcare workers. School Age Center enrollment capacity is 156. After-school care enrollment is 130. Before-school care enrollment is 75. Summer Camp 2022 was at its capacity and enrollment for Summer Camp 2023 opens April 3.