The country is experiencing one of the deadliest flu seasons in the last decade.
Oklahoma alone is reported to have had 74 deaths, as of Jan. 31, attributed to the flu since September, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health. More than 2,000 people had been hospitalized by Jan. 31.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducts research to predict which strain will be the most dominant for the flu season and creates vaccines to prevent that strain. Although the flu shot has a low effective rate this year, experts still recommend getting it because it can reduce the chance of contracting the virus.
Alyson Dent, Campus Health Clinic manager, said students can still come to the clinic to get the flu shot.
Dent said, if campus health is contracted with an insurance company, the shot will most likely be free for students. The clinic will also accept $25 in cash from students without insurance, Dent said.
Alonso Jordan, opera performance graduate, said he had a positive experience at the Campus Health Clinic when he got his flu shot.
“I went there for another appointment and they fit me in right away. I was surprised to see how easy it was,” Jordan said.
Olivia White, acting freshman, said she feared getting the flu shot, but was more scared of getting the flu.
“I had heard that the flu shot wasn’t effective this year, but, after doing some research I learned that the flu shot this year does not necessarily prevent you from getting the flu, but it does decrease the amount of effect it has on you if you do happen to catch it tremendously,” she said.
White encouraged other students to take preventative measures before it’s too late.
“I got the shot that day and I’m so glad I did,” she said. “Go get the flu shot, people!”
Flu season can last from October to May, but it usually peaks in January and February. The virus spreads mainly by droplets made when people cough, sneeze or talk, and can be spread to people up to six feet away. The virus also can be contracted by touching surfaces with the virus on it, then touching one’s nose or mouth.
CDC officials recommend staying away from sick people and washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Frequently touched surfaces should be disinfected often.
Students who experience symptoms should stay home, Dent said.
“If you are sick and you’re feverish, don’t go and get other people sick,” she said. “It’s typically best to just kind of ride that out and not be around other people.”
Flu symptoms include fever, severe aches, fatigue, chest discomfort, and a cough, among others.
The Market at Alvin’s sells a variety of medicines and vitamins including Emergen-C, Tylenol, Aleve, DayQuil, and NyQuil.
The Campus Health Clinic is located in the west wing of the Kramer School of Nursing and is open 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Appointments may be made by calling 405-208-5090.