Flu Season at Southwestern
As we’re slowly making our way to the middle of September, there’s a war going on that affects every single one of us. That’s right: the war on germs. It’s flu season, which means it’s time to prepare ourselves and try to not get ourself and our roommate sick. The flu, also known as influenza, is not like your average cold. While a cold is more gradual, the flu is instant and hits like a train. It comes with symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and even a fever.
Even if you got a flu shot last year, the SU Health Center advises you to get another shot this year because you could be at risk. The flu virus mutates fast, becoming slightly different every year.
The flu shot takes about two weeks for it to start working, and will help prevent four different strains of the flu. However, it is important to note that the flu shot alone is not enough to prevent the flu. The flu shot is only 60-70% effective against the flu. Despite this, those who were vaccinated and got the flu did not get as sick as those who were never vaccinated.
If you happen to experience any flu symptoms, then go to the SU Health Center. There, they’ll test you for the flu. If your test is positive, you will be able to get prescribed Tamiflu, an antiviral that will not only combat against the flu, but also shorten your recovery time. If you get the flu this semester, make sure to not go to class in order to prevent your fellow classmates from getting the flu.
There are plenty of other ways to prevent the flu along with the shot. According to Jennifer Stiller, a nurse practitioner at the Health Center, “Hand washing and using hand sanitizers are also very important in preventing the flu”. If you suspect someone of having the flu, try to spend less time with them until they recover.
Luckily, the SU Health Center gives out flu shots between 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Flu shots are free to students, however, your insurance will be billed. Before you walk in, make sure to have a copy of your health insurance on you. You’ll also need to fill out a few forms when you get there.
Overall, getting a flu shot is a good idea, especially when we start going into midterms. Stay healthy, Pirates!