Flu season sneaking up on students

By Heather Beyer, Editor-in-Chief

Every year the university gets a visit from an unwelcome guest: the seasonal flu. Students find themselves as susceptible victims as they live and study in close quarters with their peers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu virus can spread by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. People with the flu can spread it to others up to about six feet away.

Experts say that most healthy adults may be able to infect other people with the flu beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.

University Health Services recommends that all students get vaccinated.

According to the CDC, it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop and provide protection from the flu.

Both the flu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine work in the same way: they cause antibodies to develop in the body. These antibodies provide protection against flu virus infection.

In the meantime, students are still at risk for getting the flu. That’s why it is usually better to get the vaccine early.

There are many myths associated with the flu. One of the most popular myths associated with the flu vaccine is that it can give the patient
the flu.

“They should be absolutely fine,” said Nancy Granger, assistant director for Student Health Services. “You do not get the flu from the flu vaccine. People say that ‘I got sick’ and ‘I can’t take it.’ They probably picked up another bug or another viral infection somewhere along the line.”

Flu-like symptoms include: fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, chills, a cough or sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, headache, body aches, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

“People who have the true flu, they remember it vividly,” Granger said. “It can last for seven to ten days or even a little bit longer. You are absolutely miserable.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.

Where to get the flu vaccine:

-UA students interested in obtaining a flu shot can now do so at the Health Service

-No appointment is necessary. Cost of flu immunization is $20.

-Payment accepted: Credit/debit, cash, and All-Campus Zip Card.

-If you have health insurance, you may want to contact your insurance company to learn if the flu vaccination is available to you at no cost at your primary care provider’s office or various community retail clinics and pharmacies. Student Health Services is unable to bill insurance plans.