Health Services Provides Free Flu Shots

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Health Services Provides Free Flu Shots

Hannah Kramer, Contributing Writer

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Roughly 200,000 people nationwide contract the flu each year. One simple way to prevent the illness is by getting a flu shot. This year Buena Vista University is providing the opportunity for students and staff alike to get flu shots through Health Services & Wellness.  

“The university takes a very progressive approach to ensure that students, faculty, and staff are offered this very important opportunity to protect themselves and more importantly [to] protect others from becoming ill with influenza,” says Campus Nurse Tami Laursen.  

So what is it? Commonly called the flu, influenza is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and can include high fevers, runny noses, sore throats, chills, coughing, muscle pains, and feeling tired.    

This year the flu vaccine is made up of the top four strains from last year’s flu season. Two strains are Influenza A’s and two are influenza B’s.   

“There are minimal side effects, most commonly localized reactions consisting of some redness or soreness at the sight of injection,” says Laursen. “Other, less common side-effects include low-grade fever or general malaise.” 

Some people don’t want to get a flu shot because they believe it causes the flu or because they believe they won’t get the flu. However, the flu vaccine does not cause influenza.   

“The flu vaccine is not a live virus and there is no way the vaccine can give the flu. The flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine,” Laursen explains.  

While the vaccine helps to resist the flu, it is not a hundred percent guarantee against contracting the flu. However, the vaccination has been shown to reduce the severity of the illness in people who do contract the disease after receiving the vaccine.  

“[The] flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits and hospitalizations each year,” Laursen adds.  

Health Services & Wellness are providing free flu shots for three days this month, Sept. 25-27, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students can visit www.bvu.edu/flu  to make an appointment for any of these days to receive their flu shot. While an appointment is not required, it is highly recommended. Students unable to visit the health office to receive a flu shot on any of these days should contact Health Services & Wellness by email at [email protected]  or by visiting the office.  

Other ways to stay healthy this cold and flu season are listed below, courtesy of Tami Laursen.  

  • Stay healthy by eating a well-balanced diet; get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, especially when you are sick; and drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. 
  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating, touching frequently used surfaces, and blowing or wiping your nose. 
  • Sneeze or cough in your elbow or a Kleenex, then wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes and nose when you are sick. These actions can help to spread germs! 
  • Avoid sharing objects such as cans, bottles, cups, silverware, etc, with other people. 
  • Change your toothbrush every 2 months. 
  • If someone is sick, avoid close personal contact – especially kissing. 
  • Seek medical attention from Health Services when you have cold or flu symptoms.
  • If you are diagnosed with influenza, Health Services can assist you with self-isolation in your room. If you live within a reasonable distance from BVU, you should go home and recover to prevent others from getting sick.