Flu shot available now in Health Center

By Brandon Barber

With the H1N1 scare from last year’s flu season, it is best to be conscious that the Student Health Center provides the defense students, faculty and staff need to combat the dangers of the flu season ahead.

“The flu vaccine includes three strains of common flu viruses that have been seen over the past two to three years, which includes the H1N1,” Linda Roeder, director of the Student Health Center, said.

“Last year it was in a separate shot because it came out so late in the season, so they weren’t able to get it into the regular seasonal flu shot, but this year they had plenty of time and it was all included in there this year.”

Roeder said receiving the vaccine does not 100 percent guarantee that you won’t get any of those strains, but if you do get one of those strains and you have received the flu shot, then the illness will be much less severe. It can also protect you from other viruses that you might get.

“A lot of people think that a bacterial infection is worse than a viral infection, but that’s not true. Viral infections can become very severe,” Roeder said.

“The CDC (Centers for Disease and Prevention) recommends that everyone should get a flu shot…When H1N1 was prevalent last year, they said it was more important for young people. This year, it was recommended that everyone [receives it]. People with chronic disease, asthma, heart problems, diabetes, are strongly recommended to get it.”

Typical symptoms of seasonal flu are fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, occasional nausea and vomiting. Confusion is also a later symptom.

Roeder said the average amount of students who get the flu shot is 150. However, 160 students received the shot this year not including the amount of students that may receive it elsewhere. 300 staff and faculty have received the shots.

“I feel that the H1N1 heightened the awareness and people are more interested now,” Roeder said.

Roeder stated each year the CDC and the World Health Organization monitor what viruses are seen. Each year when it’s time to develop a vaccine for the following year, they look back and see what was the most prevalent over the past two to three years then try to include those strains.

Every year there are two to four strains of flu virus and the H1N1 virus happens to be one of those strains. Since they had an advance warning from last year, they were able to put it in with this year’s seasonal flu shot.

“The same would’ve happened last year, except the typical flu season is November through March. The H1N1 virus hit when they were already working on vaccinations for the following fall, so it was too late to add it and that’s why there was a separate shot. There was simply no time for the manufacturing to change,” Roeder said.

“The flu vaccinations that you may receive have no live virus and cannot cause you to get the flu virus. A few people may have a low grade fever and a little bit of body aches, but nothing like the severity of a flu or influenza. By getting a flu shot, you’re protecting the people around you. The more that we get immunized the less we have the disease,” Roeder said.

“It’s good to have one and my mom would kill me if I didn’t. The flu kills thousands of people and there is a vaccination for it,” Lindsay Richey said.

Ashley Christman is another student who sees the sensibility in getting the vaccine.

“I got one because my uncle nagged me,” Christman said. “It’s good to get one so you won’t get sick and miss class. If everyone gets one, then we won’t get sick and miss class.”