Washburn preps for flu season

Timothy Lake

Even without a major threat from a new strain of influenza, the flu season is still approaching, which means a renewed push for getting vaccinated against the flu bug.

Pat Schneider, R.N.  for Washburn Health Services, said there is only one flu shot this year. This vaccine works against the swine flu, as well as the common influenza virus. The health clinic is planning on a flu clinic in Memorial Union to help make the vaccination process faster and easier for students.

It is important for students to get vaccinated that are at higher risk including those with asthma or allergies.

“You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick,” said Schneider. “Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.”   

Andrew Herbig, assistant professor for the biology department believes this prolonged infection is because of more health problems concurrently occur for older age groups and young children compared to college students.

Campus communities have a lot more people in close proximity. Herbig had a small suggestion to keep the flu from spreading while at Washburn.

“As we get in the season of sniffles and sneezes, one of the best practices, is coughing into the elbow, not right into the hands,” said Herbig.

Herbig would also say that with stress and lack of sleep, students’ immune systems are weakened, making it easier to catch a sickness. But Schneider also pointed out that physical health does not mean students can neglect getting the shot.

“While exercise and proper nutrition do make a student healthier, and decreases the chance that people will get the flu, it does not give a complete prevention of the flu,” said Schneider.

According, to Schneider, it is also important that students know that the flu is not a gastrointestinal issue. The flu is a respiratory virus, and symptoms include a headache, sore throat, and cough.

“There is a small percentage that people can have a reaction, but its so minute to what can happen if you have the flu, its well worth getting the shot,” said Schneider.

The health clinic at Washburn University will start giving vaccines on Oct. 1. Schneider said the shot will be $12, and students will have to sign a consent form. More information regarding costs and what students need to bring will be on their website.