The flu season is at its peak and many students have already suffered the consequences.
It was a rough first week back at school for Rebecca Fowler, junior English major from Coppell, who contracted the flu on Jan. 14, the day school started. Her fever lasted for three days and she remained contagious for another. She is still recovering and has a minor cough.
“My housemate, Whitney, got the flu two days before me and then I caught it from her. Now three of our friends in Whitney’s and my Sing Song section have it,” Fowler said. “If you start feeling sick, go to the doctor right away.”
Fowler is one of many who have dealt with the flu this season. She is also one of many who received the flu shot and still contracted the flu.
“My whole family and I get the flu shot every fall and have since I was little,” Fowler said. “In the past, it’s been great at preventing the flu, but this year the doctor said it was only about 60 percent effective. Even though it didn’t prevent me from catching the flu this year, the doctor said it made my case much less severe.”
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness prominent in the winter time, especially January and February. The seasonal flu typically lasts one to two weeks and is characterized by a sore throat, coughing, muscle aches, nausea, chills, headaches, a runny nose and a fever of more than 100 degrees.
Dr. Ellen West, physician and director of the Weber Medical and Counseling Care Center said more students have come into the medical clinic this year than they did last year for the flu, and she has administered somewhere near 500 vaccinations. Flu shots at the ACU Medical Clinic are $15 for students.
She thinks it is important to get the flu shot because it has been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lowers the chance of hospitalization or death.
“No vaccine has 100 percent efficacy,” West said. “The flu vaccine is made up new every year based on projections of what strains will be most prevalent. This year’s vaccine is about 70 percent effective, so there are some strains in circulation that are not covered by the vaccine. The people who get the vaccine and then get the flu are still much less severely affected.”
West’s advice to stay healthy is to get the flu shot, wash your hands well and often, get plenty of sleep and don’t eat or drink after others.