By Jessica Ingram
The flu has reached epidemic status in the nation, however much of VSU’s campus community said they have not had the flu.
According to area experts—Lynette Lewis, assistant director and administrator at the Student Health Center, and Dr. Edwin Hiatt, M.D. Director at the Student Health Center—the flu season started abnormally early and is now spread across the U.S.
“I have had swine flu in the past, but I haven’t had the flu this year and I don’t really know anyone that has had it,” Lacey Miller, junior early education major, said.
The U.S. has seen a rise in the number or people getting the flu vaccine. According to Lewis there are parts of the U.S. that are actually running out of the vaccines.
The vaccines for the current flu season were available starting in September 2012.
“My mom got a flu shot and hasn’t gotten sick, but I didn’t get one and I haven’t had the flu either,” Jessie Brooks, junior accounting major, said. “I think a lot of people our age don’t think they need them because they don’t think they will get sick.”
According to Dr. Hiatt, those most susceptible to the flu are “children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems.”
The vaccine, made from the killed flu virus, takes a couple weeks to become effective in the body. The killed virus is not active, so getting infected from the vaccine is impossible.
Lewis and Hiatt said that some of the people who have contracted the flu this season have been extremely sick and that it is best to get vaccinated to limit the probability of sickness, missing school/work, and the chance of infecting loved ones.
“I haven’t been sick this season, but one of my friends from home had the flu over Thanksgiving break and he was really sick and couldn’t really get out of bed on Thanksgiving Day,” BJ Guest, junior early childhood education major, said.
The flu is a virus, which means that it is more serious than a cold, and people with the flu generally feel very ill.
The symptoms of the flu are much like the common cold. However, the symptoms are intensified greatly.
According to the CDC the symptoms of the flu are fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body or muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, and dry cough.
More information on influenza and the flu vaccine is available at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website solely devoted to the flu at http://cdc.gov/flu/.
Lewis said that students that want to get vaccinated can call the Student Health Center to make an appointment. A VSU ID is required for the vaccination and the cost is $10.
Local doctors, health departments, and pharmacies are also offering the flu vaccination for this season.