BY RACHEL TAYLOR
Gull Life Editor
As fall fades and the weather becomes cooler, sniffles, coughs and sneezes become more common around campus. While it is easy to get over a cold, getting the flu is a whole different story.
A flu vaccine is one of the main ways to prevent getting sick during flu season, which begins in October and can extend into May. This means there is plenty of opportunity to be struck down with the flu.
Director of Student Health Services Victoria Lentz does not see any problem with students getting the vaccine.
“The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone,” Lentz said “It’s safe, hopefully effective; you know last year wasn’t a great match but I encourage it for everybody.”
Instead of being proactive and getting a flu shot it seems that more and more people are questioning the necessity and effectiveness of the vaccine.
“I have gotten a flu shot every year, but I always get a cold and end up with bronchitis or pneumonia so I’m not sure if it’s worth the risk,” freshman Julie Satthoff said.
After getting a flu shot some people don’t feel the best and believe that the vaccine will give them the flu, however Lentz says this is a myth.
“Some people think that you get the flu when they get the shot, they don’t. They probably are sick from something else when they get the shot,” Lentz said. “It’s an inactivated vaccine and cannot give you the flu.”
Unlike other immunizations, such as the measles, mumps and rubella and the tetanus plus pertussis shots, which are required by SU, the flu vaccine is not.
In that same poll, 61 percent of students said they have gotten the flu shot in the past.
Freshman Erin Wilson is taking the precaution and is getting the flu shot.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry, or in this case sick,” Wilson said.
Influenza is a serious health issue annually in the U.S. each year; 36,000 people die from influenza and around 200,000 people are hospitalized because of the flu, according to the Harvard Medical School.
On a college campus there are many ways that students can come in contact with germs that can cause the flu and other illnesses. A flu vaccine is just one way to combat the possibility of contracting the illness.
While an outbreak is uncommon on campus, Student Health Services does not take the flu lightly
“We don’t actually excuse people from classes although if somebody had the flu we’d give them a sick note that they can show their professors,” Lentz said. “We would highly recommend that they wouldn’t go to class and certainly if we start to see a lot of flu then probably I would put out an announcement that we’ve seen a lot of flu and be mindful we don’t want these kids coming to your class.”
It is recommended to get the flu vaccine in October as it takes about two weeks to kick in but, it is possible to get the vaccine throughout the flu season.
“It is never too late to get one,” Lentz said. “Some students are like, ‘oh you know I’ll just be sick for a day’ but I mean the flu really knocks you for a loop. It really makes you sick.”
Students interested in getting the flu shot can schedule an appointment with Student Health Services through the new health portal at myhealth.salisbury.edu or stop by CVS Pharmacy, which offers flu vaccines for most people with health insurance.
Peak flu season occurs in mid-January, therefore Salisbury is most likely to miss the worst of it because students are on winter break.
“I think because most students aren’t here in January we manage to escape (the worst of flu season) a little bit because most people are home during that when peak flu season really hits,” Lentz said.