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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Campus

As flu season kicks off, UH Student Health Center offers vaccinations


Washing your hands often, covering your cough and sneeze, refraining from touching public surfaces and avoiding those who are sick can all be useful methods to prevent the flu. | Graphic by Jiselle Santos

Washing your hands often, covering your cough and sneeze, refraining from touching public surfaces and avoiding those who are sick can all be useful methods to prevent the flu. | Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

As flu season starts to swing into full gear, the UH Student Health Center encourages students to get their flu shot and take extra precautions to stay healthy at this critical time of year.

The UH Student Health Center offers flu vaccinations for $35 and said the shot can help reduce the chances of catching influenza. 

“We do have evidence that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40 percent and 60 percent among the overall population,” said Nicole Robinson, UH Student Health Center nurse practitioner.

Flu season typically starts in late October and peaks from December through February. It can be active as late as May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The flu vaccine for the 2019-20 season was updated to correspond better with the expected viruses that could spread around the United States.

Pre-nursing junior Celeste Ly said she thinks that if students were more informed about influenza, they could have a great impact on the overall health of campus.

“I think more people need to be aware of germs and things around them and to go get a flu shot, and there needs to be more knowledge around the school about the flu,” Ly said. 

Some students said they’d feel more at ease about the spread of influenza if people got the flu vaccination to prepare.

“I think more people should get the flu shot because it protects each other from viruses that are easily spread,” said human development studies senior Gabrielle Moore. “It protects us and those around us; in getting the shot I feel we are contributing to all of the health of society.”

As of Oct. 12, seasonal flu viruses are low in the U.S., but cases are expected to rise within the next few weeks, according to the CDC’s weekly influenza report. It’s recommended that everyone over the age of six months should get the flu vaccine by the end of October.    

The flu vaccine is designed for the body to develop antibodies a few weeks after getting the shot. The antibodies then start to protect the body against the virus, according to the CDC.  Soreness, fever, nausea, muscle aches and headaches can be side effects from receiving the flu shot.

“Flu vaccination is not the perfect tool,” Robinson said, “but it is the best way to protect against flu infection.”

Although it’s possible to contract the flu after receiving the vaccine, the likelihood of it becoming deadly is minor. 

“Some people can become infected with a flu virus the flu vaccine is designed to protect against, despite getting vaccinated,” Robinson said. “The risk of a flu shot causing serious harm or death is extremely small.”  

Along with the flu vaccination, there are other ways to prevent getting sick. Washing hands often, covering your cough and sneeze, refraining from touching public surfaces and avoiding those who are sick can all be useful methods, Robinson said.

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