By: Kate Luce
While the Health and Wellness Center’s flu vaccination blitz might have wrapped up, students, staff and faculty still can roll up their sleeves in order to protect themselves this flu season.
“The annual flu shot is formulated from the extensive research done by the World Health Organization and the CDC. It contains the four major strains that are predicted to be most common during the upcoming season According to the CDC: Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death,” Kari Frame, Clinic Operations Director of the Health & Wellness Center, said.
Influenza is potentially serious, if not it can knock someone out for a week. Flu strains can mutate, which is why the vaccine is given annually. According to Frame, more than one strain of flu can be prominent each year, which is why vaccines are based on what is predicted to be the most prevalent during the year.
“The flu can mean a few days of feeling bad and missing work or it can result in more serious illness. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes,” Frame said.
Right now, COVID-19 is on the forefront of most of our minds, but getting a flu vaccine can help keep you healthy and protect you and the vulnerable from carrying a virus.
“It is especially important to get and stay fully vaccinated as part of your overall health care during the pandemic to reduce your likelihood of becoming sick from any illness, as getting sick from one virus or bacterium can increase the likelihood of you contracting another illness due to a lowered immune system. Additionally, you will be less likely to carry the virus to other, more vulnerable people, such as the elderly, very young children and those with chronic illnesses,” Frame said.
With the flu vaccine comes many myths. One myth is that the flu shot will give you the flu.
“The flu shot is made from an inactivated virus that can’t transmit infection. So, people who get sick after receiving a flu vaccination were most likely exposed to the flu prior to getting their shot or immediately before full immunity takes effect. It takes a week or two to get full/ maximum protection from the vaccine,” Frame said.
Another myth that many people believe is that if you are healthy, you do not need to get the flu shot.
“While it’s especially important for people who have a chronic illness to get the flu shot, anyone, even healthy folks, can benefit from being vaccinated. Current CDC guidelines recommend yearly vaccination against influenza for everyone older than six months of age, including pregnant women. Every flu season is different, and flu can affect people differently, but millions of people get flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year,” Frame said.
What’s the best way to protect yourself this flu season? Getting the flu vaccine. Even if you missed the vaccine blitzes throughout campus during October, you can still roll up your sleeve for the flu vaccine.
All you have to do is call the Health and Wellness Center at 574-520-5557 to schedule an appointment. Students, staff and faculty need to bring a University ID number for their appointment.
The flu shot is free at the Health and Wellness Center, regardless of if you have health insurance or not.