Flu season 2019 begins at App State

Josie Barnes, Reporter

Flu season is here, and with it comes flu shots. MS Shook Student Health Service and other businesses in Boone like Walgreens, CVS and Boone Drug now offer flu shots.

Health services and Boone Drug have already seen students with cases of the flu. 

Margaret Bumgarner, administrative director for health services, said health services has seen 153 students with flu-like symptoms so far.

Bumgarner said the flu vaccine is important because of how quickly the flu can spread through crowds, residence halls and classes. 

Boone Drug pharmacy manager Brent Henderson said he encourages students to get their flu shot to protect not only themselves, but also people around them who are medically unable to receive the vaccine.

“We already have seen some cases of the flu even with the university and their students and just being in such close quarters with other folks, it is a good idea to go ahead and get vaccinated,” Henderson said.

Bumgarner said last flu season, health services gave about 250 flu shots and saw 558 cases of the flu.

The flu shot is a completely inactivated virus, meaning a person can not get the flu from the shot, Bumgarner said. She said if someone gets the flu after receiving the vaccination, they were already infected but not yet showing symptoms, or they got a strain of flu not covered by the vaccine.

App State offers flu clinics that provide a convenient opportunity for all students to get vaccinated, said Kyra Patel, coordinator for student social wellness.

“(I) mostly (got the shot) just so I don’t make other people sick. Because I know if I get it it’s no big deal, but if I give it to my grandparents or my nephews who are both under three, it could be a much bigger problem for them,” freshman biology major Sarah Mace said .

At the clinics, students who make an appointment are given priority, but walk-ins are welcome. Students swipe their AppCards, fill out consent forms and are vaccinated by a nurse.

Health services will continue to offer flu shots at its clinics. Hours can be found on health services’ website. At Walgreens, CVS and Boone Drug, flu shots are offered with a $0 copay with most health insurance providers because it is considered preventive medicine. Without insurance, the vaccine costs about $40.

Flu shots are available daily with appointments or for walk-ins until 6 p.m. at Walgreens and CVS. Shots are offered at Boone Drug Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. 

To prevent the illness, health services recommends getting the flu shot, washing hands frequently, getting eight hours of sleep each night, cleaning common surfaces in rooms, especially if a roommate becomes sick, and not sharing food or drinks.

People over age 65, pregnant women and children under five years old are at high risk for developing serious flu-related complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Common symptoms of the flu include headache, fever, fatigued muscles and chills. Those experiencing pain in the chest or abdomen, difficulty breathing, dizziness, confusion, or seizures should seek immediate medical care according to the CDC.