Prachi Gohil, Roving Editor
The flu is a contagious disease that spreads across the United States each year, usually between October and May. Although anyone can contract the flu, it is widely observed in infants, young children, people over 65, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems. Pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections are a few examples of flu-related diseases that over time can rise into severe complications. If one has a history of medical conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, exposure to the flu can make matters worse.
Each year, thousands of people in the United States die from the flu, and many more are hospitalized. The flu vaccine can prevent many illnesses and flu-related visits to the doctor. The Health Center gave out free flu shots to avoid a severe health breakdown within the community.
Flu can cause fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, and headache. For some individuals, these symptoms can also include vomiting and diarrhea. Giving out these shots for no cost is a great service on campus.
In conversation with a representative from the Health Centre, Katala Lach, stated that, “It takes about two weeks for protection to develop after vaccination. There are many flu viruses, and they are always changing. Each year a new flu vaccine is made to protect against three or four viruses that are likely to cause disease in the upcoming flu season. Even when the vaccine doesn’t exactly match the viruses, it may still provide some protection.”
She further adds that the influenza vaccine does not cause the flu.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, serious injury, or death. People sometimes faint after medical procedures, which also includes vaccination. If one has a medical history or allergies, they should consult with their health provider before taking a vaccine.
Once vaccinated, one can expect vaccine reactions, which can include soreness, redness, and swelling where the shot is given, as well as fever, muscle aches, and headaches. There is also a small risk of Guillain – Barré Syndrome after receiving the influenza vaccine.
If you see signs of severe allergic reactions like hives, swelling of face and throat, difficulty in breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness, call 9-1-1 or reach out to the nearest hospital.