What you can do to avoid getting the flu this winter

By Conor Roche

This October didn't see much flu activity, even though it is the first month of flu season. However,  the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention reported on Thursday that November saw an increase of people who got sick. 

The CDC said the Influenza A virus was the most commonly identified. The amount of identified illnesses was higher than usual for this time of the year.

To avoid getting the flu, Christy Chase, the director of student health services at Quinnipiac University, said everyone should get the flu shot as soon as they possibly can.

“We feel that the best time of the year to get it is October or November to get the flu vaccine,” Chase said. “A lot of places are offering it much sooner. But the efficacy of it is really six months, and what we find here in the health center is when we see most flu (symptoms) is March. So we want to try and carry it through that time when people are living in communal housing, so we find that we want to wait a little bit. The unfortunate problem is that a lot of the programs in the health sciences want them by Oct. 1, so we’ll probably have to adjust next year.”

Quinnipiac held several flu clinics in October and November for students and faculty. This year the school ordered 3,000 flu vaccinations. Chase said the turnout for the flu clinic was “great” as there are only 100 vaccinations left.

“It’s huge…I think this year we did better than last year,” Chase said.

Chase still wants to see more college students - especially those with other health problems - get the vaccination.

“I feel like (college students) don’t necessarily feel the need to get it,” Chase said. “We definitely, in just medical professionals across the board, people with diabetes, asthma or chronic conditions certainly should get it.”

Chase also doesn’t want people to feel discouraged from getting the vaccination because of possible side effects they have heard.

 Photo credit: CDC

Photo credit: CDC

 

“You shouldn’t get the flu from it, but you might get a little bit of not feeling well as that’s your body trying to start its boost towards immunity for the flu,” Chase said. “It’s not always 100 percent effective as it’s based off of last year’s flu strain. If the strain has changed at all, then you could still be at risk, but that’s just how it is, there’s nothing we can do about that right now.”

38.6 percent of toddlers six months or younger have had the flu vaccination. 38.8 percent of children from six months to 17-years-old have received the flu vaccine. 38.5 percent of adults 18-years-old and older have received the flu vaccine, according to the CDC.

If you are a Quinnipiac student or staff member that hasn’t received the flu vaccination, Chase highly encourages you to make an appointment with the school’s health center before it runs out.