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SHS offers free flu vaccines to students

One way students can prevent catching the flu this season is to get vaccinated. Student Health Services (SHS) is offering a free flu shot to students Tuesdays through Fridays by appointment or walk-in between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. The CDC website states that the flu can cause mild to severe illness and is spread when people with the virus cough, sneeze or talk.

We really want (students) to get it as early as (they) can in the season, Dee Belagio, an registered nurse who administers the vaccine at SHS, said. We want peoples immune system to be ready. Its the best protection.

Symptoms of the flu can include fever, chills, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches or fatigue. Vomiting or diarrhea is more common in children, but adults may suffer from similar symptoms.

When I had the flu I was in bed for about a week, Stephanie Byrn, a junior majoring in mass communications, said. I really felt like death. It was probably the worst in (my) life.

The vaccine changes yearly, Belagio said, so the injection given last year wont do anything for the flu strain this year.

We did have a large number of students who obtained the vaccine last year, Belagio said. I think we gave (about) 1,100 vaccines last year. This years vaccine, like last years, contains sub-types A and B for the influenza as well as the H1N1 (swine flu) virus.

The CDC website lists people who should not get the shot, including those with severe allergies to chicken eggs, those who have had severe reactions to the influenza shot in the past or those with a history of Guillain-Barr Syndrome. In addition, anyone who is sick is recommended to wait until full recovery before getting the vaccine.

SHS will also host flu clinics for students at SHS on Nov. 7 and at the Campus Recreation Center on Nov.14 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.