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Doc's Medical Minute: safe and healthy Thanksgiving

Airman smiling in a doctor's coat.

Medical Minute by U.S. Air Force Col. Ryan Mihata, 86th Medical Group commander, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Regina Burbidge)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --

Happy Thanksgiving!  As we prepare for the fast-approaching holiday season, please remember to be safe.  Even as we celebrate with small groups, be mindful of your physical distance and potential for exposure.  Be safe, not just from COVID, but in all that you do, especially when it is outside of your normal day-to-day routines.  A teammate recently reminded me about the dangers of some of the ways people cook turkey, such as deep frying, which has the potential for sparking fires and causing burn injuries.  Also, remember Germany’s laws for impaired driving and the lower blood alcohol content limits here.  Don’t get behind the wheel after drinking.

On the COVID front, we are three weeks into the new local restrictions.  The good news is we are slightly lower on the new case trend across Rheinland-Pfalz (129 cases per 100 thousand).  The bad news is that Germany will likely hit the 1 million case mark sometime this week.  Sadly, Kaiserslautern is still on an upward trend and has experienced an increase in deaths attributed to COVID over the last several weeks.  On Ramstein, we continue to see cases where people have gone to work or school with minor symptoms and end up having COVID.  Remember that COVID can be a spectrum from no symptoms to full pneumonia, shortness of breath and chest pain.  If you have any symptoms, stay home and contact your medical care team or go to the emergency room for severe symptoms.  As always, keep wearing the face covering, maintaining physical distance and washing your hands.
 
Again this week, influenza levels remain low across the United States.  The CDC is calling it “unusually low.”  Europe tends to see its influenza cases about one or two months after the United States. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) did not have any reported cases Nov. 9-15 in their monitoring sites.  We continue to see very low levels in our area, and we still have no update on our shipment of influenza vaccine.  We plan to hold mass shot lines in Hangar 3 once we receive the shipment, and we will keep you informed of dates and times.  Please post any questions or comments you have on the Ramstein social media pages, and we will do our best to answer them.