Measles Outbreak Reinforces Need for Vaccines

Fifteen years ago, the measles, a highly contagious viral disease, was considered eliminated from the the United States. As of 2014, at least 644 cases appeared in 27 states. Over 120 cases of the disease have appeared in 17 states in 2015 so far. The current outbreak of the measles in California reinforces how important vaccines are for protecting individual health and the health of the entire population. According to a report published by the California Department of Public Health, the CA outbreak began in December 2014 at the Disneyland amusement park. The source of the outbreak is not yet known. Air Force Lt. Col. Amy Costello, the Chief of Immunization Healthcare Operations for the Defense Health Agency, explains the importance of the immunization , “the vaccine helped eliminate measles in the United States, and people may forget how dangerous the disease is. Keeping vaccination rates high is the best way to keep the disease from reemerging.” Costello highlights the importance of developing “herd immunity.” This occurs when the majority of a community is immune to a certain disease. Herd Immunity benefits children who still have not yet received the vaccine and protects those who have low immune systems and other complications. The MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella) is administered in two doses beginning at 12 months of age with the final booster shot at age 4. Measles is spread between people by respiratory droplets that are released into the air due to coughing and sneezing. The infected droplets can remain alive for hours on different objects, surfaces, and the air which makes the measles extremely contagious. Symptoms...

Airmen Undergo Hypoxia Training with the 15th Aerospace Medicine Squadron

In the profession of aviation, hypoxia is a very real hazard. That is the reason why each and every Air Force flight crew member of the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) undergo thorough hypoxia training. Hypoxia occurs when there is a lack of oxygen in the blood- typically due to high altitudes. A few of the symptoms include mental confusion, shortness of breath, and an increased rate of respiration and heart rate which can lead to unconsciousness. Lack of oxygen in the blood can result in severe brain injuries, or even death. A flight could turn into a detrimental situation if a pilot or crew were to face hypoxia unprepared. Captain Timothy Plant, who oversees aerospace and operational physiology, says all crews get to experience hypoxia in a controlled environment to better prepare them for potential hypoxic flight situations. The tool used to create the environment is called a Reduced Oxygen Breathing device, or ROBD for short. The ROBD puts the training airmen and airwomen into a hypoxic state by changing the percentage of oxygen and nitrogen in the airflow. According to Staff Sgt. Xenia Dillon, this is done without changing atmospheric pressure. While using the ROBD, trainees are also put in a flight simulator to see how they react and handle a hypoxic situation. “The training objectives are specifically recognition of hypoxia signs and symptoms,” Plant states. “The only way you can effectively accomplish that is by getting people hypoxic. Putting them into a controlled hypoxic environment and let them experience how their body responds to the environment. Once they recognize their signs and symptoms we want to...