Getting fit is more than just getting your body ready

  • Published
  • By Col. Patricia Ballentine
  • 301st Aerospace Medicine Squadron
During this era of high operations tempo we face an increased emphasis on mission preparedness and training demands. We are also challenged to identify which requirement is top priority? Frankly, competition for number "one" is intense; we often try to do two or three things at once. But if you're not healthy, you can't contribute to the mission -- you are not "mission ready." 

The 301st Aerospace Medicine Squadron's mission is to ensure wing and tenant personnel are medically fit to meet their combat mission by providing medical support. 

How do we do this? The Reserve Component Periodic Health Assessment system is the driver. The information it requires allows us to determine if there are issues we need to evaluate further or if you are good to go. The Unit Health Monitors, your key players and your points of contact, will keep you up to date with whatever is needed to ensure your health information is complete and accurate. They schedule your physical and dental exams; identify needed immunizations; and often serve as the liaison with the 301st AMDS. Some important points to remember are: 

Varicella - otherwise known as chicken pox, is back in the news. You'll need to provide medical proof you've had this typical childhood illness or we will draw a titer* to verify your immunity. If you're not immune, you're required to receive this immunization. In adults, chicken pox is a serious illness. Your health monitor will give you more details as we develop a process for this requirement. 

Immunizations - October is the beginning of flu season. The inhaled vaccine, "Fluzone", will be given during the October UTA for anyone 49 years old and younger. The vaccine doesn't give you the flu, at most, a few aches and pains. Those over 50 receive the flu shot, depending on it's availability at that time. 

Keep "fit to fight" - October is also the big testing month. You may be exempt from completing any one or all components of the fitness test by medical waiver from your private physician. But, this waiver is only good for one year. After that, you must either test or obtain a "fitness for duty" evaluation. 

What can you do? 

Whether there is a deployment, Aerospace Expeditionary Force rotation in your future or not, completing all physical exam requirements can be done up to six months before your birthday. This includes physical and dental exams, immunizations (especially those that will expire while you are gone), etc. See your health monitor for your specific due dates. Stay ahead of the game! 

The bottom line is, wrap up all the physical exam loose ends before you're asked to deploy. Bring in documentation from your private doctor or dentist if needed; get any needed dental work done, etc. The last few days before you leave are too late to make major corrections and updates. 

*the concentration of an antibody in serum
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