Health Center Says Flu Shots Beneficial

By: Ti’Juanna McKenzie

The flu spreads quickly and with a higher population of students this semester, more people are at risk of getting it, health officials said.

The Pat Walker Health Center staff encourages everyone to get the flu shot rather it’s their first time getting it or not a staff member said.

“I went to Pat Walker to get foot checked out and the nurse that I saw advised me to get the flu shot,” said sophomore Jose Castaneda.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headaches, chills, fatigue and runny nose, said Mary Alice Serafini executive director of the health center.

“The flu usually spreads from human-to-human through coughing or sneezing by an infected person,” Serafini said.

People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.

To avoid getting the flu, “individuals should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after a cough or sneeze. If soap and water is not available, alcohol-based and anti-bacterial hand cleaners and wipes are also effective,” Serafini said.

Students who get sick with the flu should remember these steps: Stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them; always cover coughs or sneezes with tissue; when coughing and sneezing. Students also should remember to wash their hands after a cough or sneeze and disinfect surfaces at their home to kill germs.

“It’s important to make time to get the flu shot because when flu season hits, the more people that are vaccinated the less flu is passed around,” Serafini said.

Side effects from the shot depend on the person.

“Sometimes people may have soreness where the vaccination was received and sometimes they might be achy for a day or two, but we don’t have many reports of that at all,” Serafini said.

Getting the shot for the first time affects some people one student said.

“I received the flu shot for the first time after getting the flu beforehand. Once I received the shot, I haven’t been sick again,” senior Anna Cowart said.

Another student on the other hand, had a different affect.

“I received the flu shot five years ago and I was sick for six- and- a-half weeks after getting it for the first time,” senior Jamie Bagwell said.

For students the flu shot cost $10.00 and for faculty and staff it’s $20.00.

“That’s because students have already paid a health fee which covers the cost of administrating the vaccination,” Serafini said.

Students, faculty and staff can walk into the immunization clinic between 8 and 9 a.m. Monday through Thursday or between 4 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to receive the flu shot.

“This semester is the earliest we have ever given the shot so there is no comparison to last year,” Serafini said.

To make students more aware of the importance of flu shots, the staff at Pat Walker post information on the website, announcements on Facebook, and times the shot is given at immunization clinic.

“Any opportunity I have, I inform people to get the flu shot and anybody that enters the clinic is asked would they like to receive a flu shot that same day,” Serafini said.