Flu Shots Offered on Campus

Caitlin Meehan, Reporter

October includes Halloween, trick-or-treating – and the start of flu season, but students can get low-cost vaccines at the Health and Wellness Center.

Anita Yurek, Resident Nurse, said the shots cost $20 each.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness that can result in hospitalization or death.

“If you get the flu you can’t go to class or do your homework, you’ll feel so weak,” said Yurek.

Yurek emphasized the severity of the flu. “Influenza is not a regular cold or a stomach virus we all get.  It’s worse. You’re not going to be able to move. It’s that bad.”

She added that everyone is susceptible to the virus.

“Although the people at highest risk are children, elderly, and people with weakened immune systems, everyone can get it.”

That means that many people will get it – and when they do, they won’t mistake it for a cold.

“Influenza is what you get vaccinated for. People think that a cold or any sickness is the flu, and say they had the flu,” said Yurek.

Flu symptoms include sore throat, cough, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, fever, chills, and runny or stuffy nose.

Glazen Celerio, freshman occupational therapy major, said the Health Center’s vaccines are convenient.

“The school offering flu shots is great for people who can’t go out and get flu shots on their own. The fact that it’s here on campus and available is great because people are lazy and that $20 is a fair price for because they don’t take insurance.”

Cael Evens, senior physical therapy major,  said the cash is worth it. “Being on campus and around other students, it’s extremely convenient even if you have to pay a small fee.”

Yurek recommends getting a flu shot no matter where it is administered.   She said the illness can spread very quickly.

Commercials on television for vaccines at pharmacies and big box stores may not always be the deal students might think they are.  “Insurance and identification cards are required in order to avoid insurance fraud.  Visiting your doctor to get a flu shot is always an option to get vaccinated,” said Yurek.

Matt Corbett, freshman nursing major, said she is a little  hesitant to get the vaccination.  “I’d like to see how other react before I get it. I like to know what’s going into my body before I put it in.”

Aside from general nerves, some people avoid the vaccination because they believe it causes illness.   That is a myth, Yurek said. She explained that the vaccine contains inactive or dead virus, and it takes two weeks for protection to develop, and people can always become infected during that waiting period.

“If you get sick after having the flu shot, you most likely were already sick and just didn’t have the symptoms yet.”

Protection provided by the vaccination lasts from several months to a year.

Yurek said there are many other preventive measures students can take, including avoiding people who are sick and anyone who has flu-like symptoms.  Proper hygiene is also important.

“Hand washing is so huge. Hand sanitizer is good for when you’re out an about, but it is nothing like hot water, soap, and friction of washing hands. It is one of the best ways to protect yourself along with do not touch anything that a sick person might have touched and  then touch your eyes, mouth, or face,” said Yurek.

Symptoms of the flu are typically treated systematically. Tylenol, Ibuprofen and aspirin can reduce fever and body aches. Cough pills and decongestants will make you feel better, but they will not make you get better faster.

Yurek advises getting plenty of rest and drinking clear fluids like water, broth, or sports drinks to keep hydrated.

She also advises students to stay home for 24 hours after the fever has broken without the use of medication and to notify the Health Center upon  return to campus  and before returning to class. She can be contacted at 6276.

According to a USA Today, although the flu kills more than 30,000 people a year in the United States and less than half of Americans ever get vaccinated.

For more information about the flu shot, go to the Heath and Wellness Center or visit the Central for Disease and Prevention website. For more information about the 2014-2015 flu season and contents of the shot, visit www.cdc.gov/flu

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