Influenza on campus: how to prevent this season’s flu virus

File+photo+from+Lindenlink.com.

Photograph: Alamy

File photo from Lindenlink.com.

TYLER KEOHANE | Reporter

In 2017, the influenza virus was reported to be at “high severity” due to the inaccurate vaccination strain, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC said that the flu vaccines have been updated to better combat the 2018-2019 influenza virus.

When contracting the flu virus, college students, on average, experience around eight days of illness. Lindenwood students can get vaccinated at the Student Health Center in Evans’ Commons. However, according to the CDC, only 46% of college students get vaccinated for seasonal flu.

A local Saint Charles pharmacist, Ralph Bonfiglio, recommends that anybody over 6 months old should get the immunization.

“You’re not just getting it for yourself, you’re getting it to protect others,” Bonfiglio said. He also said Tamiflu is the best treatment when people do contract the flu, and to take Tylenol for fever and pain.

Bonfiglio said college students might choose not to get the immunization due to the misconception that they might get the flu from the vaccine itself. However, he said this is only a myth, and that getting the vaccine will not cause any serious illness.

A large percentage of students bypass the vaccination for a number of reasons. Students are often very busy and feel they can’t fit it into their schedule.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“You’re not just getting it for yourself, you’re getting it to protect others,” Bonfiglio said.[/perfectpullquote]

Another reason for not getting the vaccine is that students feel healthy and don’t think they will contract the flu. However, the CDC recommends that everyone gets the vaccine to protect infants and the elderly, who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

Greg Cole, who works in operations in the mailroom at Lindenwood, sees several people on a daily basis – people that could have the flu virus. Cole is married and has five children, and gets the vaccination to protect not only him but his whole family too.

“When [college students] are in school, they don’t have their parents telling them what to do, so they might not get it,” Cole said.

Regardless of personal reasons for not getting the flu vaccination, students are encouraged to get the flu shot to protect themselves and to protect those who may be more vulnerable to getting the virus. People can carry the virus and not have any symptoms, then pass it on to someone else, according to the CDC.

At Lindenwood, students can receive the flu vaccine in the Student Health Center on the third floor of Evans. The charge for the vaccination is $32 and is billed directly to the student’s account. An appointment is required before getting the vaccination and can be scheduled by calling the Student Health Center’s office at (636) 949-4525.