Maintaining healthy Airmen

  • Published
  • By Jessica L. Kendziorek
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

With novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on everyone’s mind, Reserve Citizen Airmen must take care of themselves and their family in order to prevent infection and thus help protect all Americans.

“In addition to taking care of Americans, their families, and themselves, our Reserve Citizen Airmen will continue to answer our Nation’s call and meet any war-time missions,” said Col. Jeff Van Dootingh, 403rd Wing commander. “Force Health protection is critical to maintaining that goal.”

A major factor in maintaining a healthy force is to make sure every Airmen knows to report any contact, exposure, or positive test for COVID-19. This ensures that all Reserve Citizen Airmen take basic safety precautions and do not contribute to the spread of the virus.

“Although this is a novel (new) virus, the method of transmission is not,” Maj Jeremy Johnson, 403rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron chief of Aerospace Medicine and Professional Services. “It is important for members to understand that the ill health or the rate of spread associated with the virus is dependent on a number of factors: the individual’s overall health status, whether they already have another disease, and age; just to name a few.”

Air Force Reserve members, whether they are Active Guard Reserve, civilians, or traditional reservists must remember that they are required to notify their commander if they or a family member is diagnosed with COVID-19.

“The healthier you are, the more asymptomatic you tend to be. In other words, you may have the virus, have no symptoms, but you can infect more at risk individuals without even knowing you are doing so,” said Johnson.

For Johnson, whose job as the chief flight surgeon is to keep the Airmen flying as often and healthy as possible, said that it is imperative that Airmen report any possible exposure, contact and/or the development of symptoms to their chain of command in order for the Air Force to maintain a strong fighting presence.

“As Airmen, we are responsible for the defense against ‘all enemies, foreign and domestic’…..even the intangible enemies such as a novel virus,” said Johnson.