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Flu Shot banner (credit to WSU website)

In an effort to stifle what is purported to be another devastating flu season, Weber State University’s Student Health Center is offering free flu shots to its student body.

Weber State University’s APRN-C Marilee Rohan explained why it’s important to get the flu shot early.

“The earlier you get the flu shot the better, because you’ll have full immunity by the time the flu vaccine rolls around,” Rohan said. “I encourage students to flu vaccine now. That way you won’t be the unlucky student to get flu during finals week.”

Rohan mentioned that, in the beginning of the semester, the Student Health Center had 900 flu vaccines. It now has 175.

Due to an aversion to needles among some patients, an intranasal alternative called FluMist is also available.

WSU Medical Doctor Shawn D. McQuilkin said the intranasal option actually contains a live, weakened virus, while the flu shot’s virus is dead.

“The issue with the nasal spray is it didn’t seem to be quite effective last year,” said McQuilkin. “It may not provide you the same level of protection.”

And because the flu season is a time of usual absenteeism, some professors, such as Susan Matt of history studies, know that missing class is sometimes unavoidable.

“Some good tips are to contact me by email or by phone, and to make sure that you’re keeping up with the reading,” Matt said. “It’s always good to contact your classmates.”

According to Old Dominion University website, as much as 20 percent of the U.S. population contracts influenza each year, costing more than $10 billion in direct medical expenses. In addition, the CDC estimates an economic impact of $16 billion in lost earnings and productivity due to flu, not including the intangible costs of personal suffering.

The children and elderly are known to be the primary victims of getting sick more easily, as seen on CDC’s FluView pie chart studies.

McQuilkin explained flu symptoms to be aware of.

“You’re gonna be experiencing fever, sweats, chills, and muscle aches,” McQuilkin said. “And you’ll have a temperature that goes up to 102, 3, or 4 ache and pain all over.”

For further questions in regard to influenza care, the Health Services Office is located in Shepherd Union Room 190 and can be reached at (801) 626-6459.


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