Guard yourself from contracting the flu with the vaccine
It’s not too late to get a flu shot.
That’s the advice the Student Health Center is offering to students, faculty and staff as the spring semester gets underway.
The “flu,” or influenza, is a serious disease that’s very contagious and spreads throughout the United States each year, beginning in the fall and continuing through spring. It’s caused by a virus and is spread primarily by coughing, sneezing or close contact. At times, it can be fatal.
“As we are currently seeing cases of the seasonal flu in Chautauqua County, we are monitoring the widespread activity of this virus with weekly reports from the New York State Department of Health,” said Deborah Dibble, a family nurse practitioner and director of the Student Health Center.
Flu symptoms, which can start suddenly, include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache and tiredness. Vomiting or diarrhea can also occur.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. The influenza vaccine, or flu shot, is available at pharmacies in the Fredonia/Dunkirk area, and is free of cost with most health insurance plans, Ms. Dibble said.
Dibble indicted the single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot. Close contact with sick people should be avoided, she added. Using a tissue to cover the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, washing hands often with soap and water and avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth can help to prevent the spread of the flu.
Students who suspect they may have contracted the flu are encouraged to contact their primary care provider or schedule an appointment at the Student Health Center by calling 673-3131. Staff at the Student Health Center can evaluate symptoms, test for the flu, provide over-the-counter medications and prescribe an antiviral medication if indicated.