Don’t Let the Flu Find You
While flu season doesn't typically start until October, the Centers for Disease Control encourages people to start getting the vaccine now, because immunity often takes a couple weeks to develop and immunization is most effective if received prior to exposure.
The vaccine helps protect against the strains most likely to cause illness during the season.
New this year, is a vaccine that offers wider protection. "Historically the vaccines are what you call a trivalent," said Ellen Smith, a nurse epidemiologist at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison. "There are three strains of influenza virus in the vaccine. Two of those are Influenza A and one is Influenza B. This year there's what they call a quadravalent vaccine and it has four strains available in it. It's the same as the trivalent, but it has one additional strain of the Influenza B."
Flu shots are available at the Student Health Center and since the demand for vaccinations has increased, it’s a good idea to call ahead for an appointment at 330-569-5418.
Other tips to consider this season
There are lots of other things you can do during the flu season to protect yourself and limit the spread of germs. For example, the CDC recommends knowing the symptoms (flu is different than a cold) and if you get sick, doing what you can to avoid exposing others. Here are a few important tips to remember:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water to remove germs from your skin and help prevent diseases from spreading.
- Use waterless alcohol-based gels (containing at least 60 percent alcohol) when soap is not available and hands are not visibly dirty.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and put your used tissue in a wastebasket.
- If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
- Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs can be spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Follow the advice of local health and government authorities.
Source: CDC 2013