Flu season is fast approaching

How students can prevent and prepare for the upcoming 2019 - 20 flu season

With the seasons changing and school in full swing, students are at a higher risk of sickness with flu season right around the corner.

For students trying to avoid illness or attracting influenza this season, one option is getting a vaccine from the Birkam Health Center.

“There are some things everyone should do in addition to getting the vaccine to help avoid getting sick — wash your hands and avoid close contact with people who are sick,” Ferris Director of Birkam Health and Personal Counseling Center Lindsay Barber said.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also suggests that if you come down with the flu, stay away from others and try to cover your mouth and nose (elbows, not hands) if sneezing is occurring to help others stay healthy.

For some students, this seems like common sense.

“I wash my hands regularly, and I tend not to drink from other people’s drinks,” Ferris business administration junior Kendall Rooks said. “The thing about washing my hands is I hate having dirty and non-clean hands, like after touching desks and before I eat to prevent me from getting sick.”

For those who contract the flu, medical attention is not usually necessary.

“The flu is a virus,” Barber said. “A virus is not traditionally treated with an antibiotic. Most people who contract the flu do not need medical attention. If you are sick with the flu, stay home, avoid people and crowds, and treat the symptoms with over-the-counter and home remedies.”

Barber also debunked the myth of “flu shots giving the actual flu.”

“This is not true. The flu vaccine that we provide is an ‘inactivated virus’ which means that it does not introduce a live virus into your body,” Barber said.

The CDC recommends anyone from the age of 6 months and above get a flu shot. The earlier the flu shot is administered, the better the chance to have protection against later viruses during the upcoming flu season.

This year the CDC has reported between 162 to 169 million doses of the vaccine to hit the U.S. market. Among these include three primary flu vaccines, which usually protect against three or four different viruses.

For some students new to campus, learning where to get their flu shot can be an important step in staying healthy.

“I do get flu shots, and no I wouldn’t mind getting them here, I just don’t know how to get them,” Ferris welding engineering and technology freshman Mark Helton said about Birkam Health.

Students can set up a vaccination appointment through the Healthy Dog Student Health Portal through MyFSU or call the center to make an appointment.

These appointments are free for people who have not requested for their health center fee to be refunded. No insurance card is needed to obtain a flu shot.