Want ME to take a Shot?

Deborah L. Hopia, Guest Writer

You wake up one day with a fever, chills, headache, runny nose, sore throat and the worse muscle and bone pain you can imagine. “What is wrong with me?” you think. You probably have the flu. Every year, the flu spreads across college campuses because students live in close quarters and share just about everything.

This could have been prevented by taking out a few minutes and getting an influenza vaccine. The center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone over the age of 6 months should get the vaccine. Flu vaccines are available at the Student Health Center, local Pharmacies and Health Departments. They can be given with a shot or now a tiny intradermal needle (the needle is hardly visible), or by a nasal spray.

In addition to getting vaccinated remember to wash your hands frequently. Do not share food, utensils, cups or bottles. Cover your mouth with a tissue and throw it away. Cough into your sleeve is a tissue is not available. Use hand sanitizer and do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth…all entry points for germs.

If you get the flu see a health care provider within the first 24 hours and you can be given the antiviral medications, Tamiflu or Relenza.. Stay away from others. You are considered infective until the fever goes away .Wear a mask if you must go out. Drink plenty of fluids….fever can dehydrate you quickly. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fevers > 101.

Go to the Emergency Department if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain or abdominal pain; dizziness or confusion; severe vomiting or after getting better a worsening cough develops

Remember an ounce of prevention may save you a whole world of discomfort and illness.