As we welcome October, flu season is right around the corner. Although, the peak of flu season generally is between November and February, the beginning of October starts it all.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 8 percent of Americans are affected by influenza each year. Dr. Alan Taege, an infectious disease specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, told Health magazine, “The flu is a contagious respiratory illness, and the influenza virus lives longer in colder, drier air.”
Tanya Tatum, the director of Health Services at FAMU, said: “I think that our problem is that our students don’t like to get shots, so we always have a difficult time getting rid of the flu vaccine. I only order typically 200 doses a year and I can’t get rid of 200 doses.”
Although local doctors encourage getting the flu shot, Tatum’s experience rings true. In fact, there are students who plan on getting the flu shot while others are preparing for the flu season through holistic practices.
Laquisha Johnson, a freshman, said:“I routinely received the flu shot back home each year, but because I am away for college, I have not gotten one yet. I plan on getting one from my doctor when I go back home.”
On the other hand, Jason Burns, a senior, said: “I’ve never had a flu shot before and do not plan on getting one. However, my roommate has the flu so to prepare my alternatives are eating more fruits, vegetables and salads on a daily basis to build my immune system.”
However, Tatum said: “It’s not going to really matter the foods you eat or drink. I think it’s about having good hand washing hygiene, being careful when you are around other people, some people cough and shake your hand. Recognize that people will do that. We spread viruses in a lot of different ways so washing your hands a lot is going to be really helpful.”
Tatum continued, “Flu shots are easy to get. We offer free flu shots every year to students, faculty, and staff. Typically, we plan a flu clinic along with the College of Pharmacy each year, so we try to create different ways in which we can get the flu shots out to students. We put the information out via iStrike once we get the vaccine in, we don’t usually start until the first part of October.”
If you choose to take a more holistic route, consuming foods that are immune boosters such as ginseng tea, blueberries, or even ginger along with vitamins will help build your immune system. If you usually receive a flu shot every year there isn’t a better time than now to get it before the season reaches its peak.