Officials say students should take adequate precautions against flu

No flu cases have been reported to the UNA Health and Wellness Center this year, but officials advise students to protect themselves against the virus.  

Although Alabama is only seeing seasonal influenza cases on the local level, health officials still urge the general public to take precautions against the flu.

Dr. Marlon Florida, emergency department physcian at Shoals Hospital in Muscle Shoals said this area is seeing a late start to the flu season, but people should be careful.

The flu vaccination is one of the best ways to keep from getting the flu, Florida said.

“The real flu typically lasts from about five to six weeks,” Florida said. “You stand the chance of missing work and classes.”

Although the flu vaccine does have side effects, Florida said the real flu symptoms are much worse than the shot. He said the side effects are typically like flu symptoms, just not as severe. He said the most common side effect is a sore injection site.

Florida said the flu vaccination typically takes two weeks to become fully effective. The flu shot typically caries three strains of flu in small amounts that are injected in to the body, he added.

“Certain parts of your immune system are trained to look for proteins, bacteria, etcetera,” Florida said. “When they find that, they work with other parts of your immune system to make an antibody to destroy it. Your body sees that, and thinks it’s the real flu, that’s why you get the symptoms.”

The flu vaccine is training your body to attack the flu virus, Florida said.

The UNA Health and Wellness Center treats students with flu as well.

The first positive case of influenza was discovered on campus Wednesday. The Health and Wellness Center on campus alerted the UNA community that the first case was on campus via campus wide email.

Bergeron said that students with the symptoms such as cough, achy body and high fever should come to the clinic for medical treatment as soon as possible.

In the state, Jefferson and Colbert counties have seen cases of the flu this year, Bergeron said.

“We still have a couple hundred shots left, so come on in,” said Cindy Wood, executive director of the health and wellness center.

“(We are seeing a) slow start, we don’t know if it will be a slow season,” Wood said. “It hasn’t started yet.”

The Health and Wellness Center has performed flu tests on students this year, and they all have come back negative.

Students like Graduate Student Allie Peterson do not feel that the shot works.

“The year that swine flu was bad, I came down with (the swine flu) right after,” Peterson said.

Peterson said she experienced bad side effects from the vaccination.

“I just don’t get them,” she said. “Everyone in my family gets them, though.”

Carolyn Thomas, a senior exercise science major said she gets the flu shot every year.

“My parents make me,” she said. “My did is a doctor, so I always get them.”

The only side effect Thomas said she experienced was a sore injection site.