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Behind the Lines: Robins Public Health | News

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Behind the Lines: Robins Public Health

The men and women of Robins Air Force Base protect our freedoms, but to fight, they have to be fit.

13WMAZ went "Behind the Lines" with Robins' Public Health Division to see how they battle disease at home and abroad.

SSgt. Tam Nguien's weapons fit in the palm of his hand. He's a technician in the Immunization Clinic.

The shots he gives to patients numerous times a day fight illnesses that could attack even Robins' most fragile civilians.

When we visited the clinic, he was giving routine immunizations to six-month old Autumn Storie. She's the daughter of a Robins airman, Matt Storie.

Nguien said to the Stories, "See. She did good. She stopped crying."

The routine injections against tetanus and whooping cough, like Autumn received, protect airmen and their families at home.

The clinic is also equipped to combat threats abroad. Nguien commonly provides immunizations for anthrax, typhoid, and Japanese encephalitis.

SrMSgt. Dwight Carnes knows the immunization drill.

Joking, he said, "You ever seen a pin cushion?"

Carnes has deployed too many times to count in his 25-year Air Force career.

About to leave again for the Middle East, he said, "You never know what you're going to encounter."

The people in the public health wing use paper and pen to protect, verifying a check list of deployment requirements.

Community Health officer-in-charge SSgt. Danea Fayall said, "We're kind of the babysitters of the process."

Fayall can clear Carnes after screenings from his doctor and dentist, and passing grades on eye, ear and mental heath exams.

She said, "It's kind of a two-way street."

Her counterparts in Air Force public health across the ocean will run the same checks, when Carnes arrives.

Fayall said, "They make sure we've done our jobs."

Carnes will be put through the ringer again, when he returns. They will check for injury and infectious disease.

Carnes said, "You can only only hope it's caught, before you're able to spread that to anybody."

While the people in the Public Health division fight from an office instead of a battlefield and against unseen enemies, they form Robins first line of defense against disease.

Fayall says the Air Force requires all airmen to get a flu shot. Despite that, she says the number of flu cases at Robins is higher this year than last.

She expects flu cases to reach their peak at Robins now through early February.


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