It’s flu season; take a shot at vaccination

In a few weeks, the faint sounds of sniffling, sneezing and coughing will usher in the changes in temperature and season.

With cold and flu season approaching, students will have to take precautions to ensure that they remain healthy.

“The flu is a very serious disease we don’t think about,” said Florida A&M Student Health Services Director Tanya Tatum. “Around 45,000 people die from the flu in the U.S.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu symptoms include getting a fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle and body aches, headaches, fatigue and dehydration.

For many students, it is not simple to avoid sickness.

According to the CDC, the flu is highly contagious and can be passed on to someone else before one realizes it. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others a day before symptoms develop and 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.

According to Tatum, the human immune system is designed to prevent viruses from attacking the body, but there are other methods of prevention and treatment during this time, including flu vaccinations.

The vaccine contains a weakened flu virus. When it is injected, antibodies will protect the body from the virus and continue to protect the body whenever it reappears.

One of the misconceptions of the flu vaccine is that it will infect whomever the shot is given to, but according to Tatum, no side effects to the vaccination, other than soreness in the area of injection, occur.

Every year around this time, Student Health Services runs a campaign for flu vaccinations, offering students free flu shots.

Katrina Jones, a senior criminal justice student from Orlando, is among many students who have never recieved a flu shot.

“My granddad once told me that I would become sick with the flu from the vaccine, and it is how your body learns to fight off the virus,” Jones said.

Tatum provided helpful tips to students to get them through this year’s sick season:
Wash your hands throughout the day between classes and before meals; ask people who are coughing to cover their cough; and carry tissues for coughing and sneezing and hand sanitizer.
“You don’t need to do much,” Tatum said. “It’s just about being aware.”