Campus health officials want students to know how to protect themselves against the flu virus.
The flu season usually peaks in January or February and can continue until the spring, according to The Journal News website, lohud.com.
Viruses have hard outer shells that protect them and allow them to pass around.
Warmer temperatures make this outer shell softer and cause the virus to die before it can spread, but cold weather allows this protective shell to stay in place and keeps the virus in the flu-spreading business, accord- ing to the National Institutes of Health.
Cold weather causes people to stay inside more, which can lead to the spread of viruses like the common cold and the flu, according to the Center for Dis- ease Controls website, cdc.gov.
The Health Center offers flu mist, which covers four strands of the flu and a vaccine that covers three.
The cost is $20 for the shot and $40 for the mist. Most health insurance providers cover the shot or mist.
There are 400 available shots at the health center this season. If you do get sick, there are a few ways to determine if you have the flu or a cold, said Jes- sicaButler, campus health clinic manager.
“It is important to determine if you have the flu or a cold because both have symptoms such as sore throat, fever, head- ache, muscle aches, congestion, and cough,” Butler said. “Flu symptoms are usually more severe and come on faster.”
The flu also lasts longer.
Most cold symptoms begin to improve within a few days, but the flu will make students feel more ill and could last for a few days to weeks.
Butler said she also suggests that students take their temperature.
“With a cold, if you have a fever, it’s usually mild, but, with the flu, a temperature of 101- 102 is common and could last three to four days,” Butler said.
Other ways to prevent the flu are to wash hands, avoid drink- ing after anyone and follow general hygiene rules.
One student also suggests taking an immune supplement. “So far I haven’t gotten sick and I take it once a day, every other day,” said Kyle Rudolph, vocal performance freshman. “Vitamins also help.”
To receive the preventative shot or mist, or for further guidance on treating the flu, visit the campus health center.
To schedule a visit to the campus health center, students, faculty and staff may call 405- 208-5090 or stop by the center in Kramer School of Nursing West during business hours, 8:30-11:15 a.m. and 1-4:15 p.m. Monday-Friday.