What's New with the Flu?
By Kim L. Miller MD, Staff Physician, Health Services, McGrath Health and Wellness Center
As the leaves start to fall and the weather turns cooler, our thoughts turn to fall football, apple cider and influenza. Yes, flu season is upon us again. Starting in early October and lasting through the spring, flu season typically peaks in January or February. However, it is never too early to begin planning our flu prevention strategy.
Flu viruses are constantly changing. We don’t know which flu strains will be active this season, but scientists work diligently to come up with a prediction and include the most likely strains in the new flu vaccine. This is why we need to get a flu shot every year, not just once.
CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is always a good idea, and the protection you get from vaccination will last throughout the flu season.
Flu shots are available by appointment at the McGrath Health and Wellness Center. Appointments can be made by calling (513) 745-3022. The charge is $20 and can be put on the student bursar bill.
Vaccination is the cornerstone of flu prevention, but everyday actions can help prevent flu and keep you and your family healthy as well:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub (sanitizer). Why not include the pocket-sized ones in your next care package?
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick with flu–like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
Making sure your college student is vaccinated and follows these few common sense steps can help keep them healthy through the school year. Ask your student to get their flu shot today!
The staff of McGrath Health and Wellness Center is dedicated to the health of our students and wish you and your family a healthy and happy school year!