October is the time to get flu shots to stay healthy

By Taryn Gillespie

Cold and flu remedies crowd shelves at a local grocery store. While there is no quick cure, treating symptoms of the flu can be expensive.
Cold and flu remedies crowd shelves at a local grocery store. While there is no quick cure, treating symptoms of the flu can be expensive.

Sickness has affected the Hutchinson Community College campus during the last few weeks, with many students missing classes and social events.

Some have colds, others, stomach ailments, and with flu season upon us, there may be flu cases already.

The Student Health Center on campus offers flu immunization shots for any student wanting to get one.

The shot costs $13 and can be given at the Center, across the street north of Lockman Hall parking lot.

Health center personnel suggest you call and make an appointment for a shot, even though they do take walk-ins.

As of last week, the clinic is on track with last year and likely will give about 70 flu shots.

So far, they have not had a person come in that has been diagnosed to have the flu this year.

So far this year, in the U.S., only 107 of the people tested for the flu have tested positive. Some students on HCC’s campus were asked about the shot for this report.

“I don’t get flu shots because I don’t have the time and they just make you sick,” said Jessica Davis, Hutchinson. “They don’t work.”

A few other students also have had first-hand experience with the shot making them sick.

“I don’t get any flu shots because my mom and I have both gotten really really sick from them before,” said Jamie Dechant, Sterling.

Some simply don’t get it because they don’t feel the need.

“I don’t ever get sick, so there is no need for me to get the flu shot,” said Daniel Garrett, Wichita.

Journalism adviser Alan Montgomery said he has gotten the shot every year for over 15 years, with no ill effects.

“And I never got the flu,” he said, “so I think it is effective.”

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs.

It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe.

Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a yearly low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yearly flu vaccination should begin soon after flu vaccine is available — ideally by October.

Getting vaccinated later can be protective.

While seasonal influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, in most years, influenza activity peaks in January or later.

Several flu vaccines, of varying strength, are available.

Factors that can determine a person’s suitability for vaccination with a particular vaccine include a person’s age, health and allergies.

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