Flu shots stressed after new outbreak

A recent rise in influenza outbreaks are a cause for concern among University students, considering a 90 percent resistance to the drug most often prescribed.

“The issue is that we have a strain of influenza that is heading our way and it is resistant to the two medications that we are treating it with,” said Student Health Services Director Glenn Egelman. “We have students living in tight quarters and it spreads very rapidly, we really need to get our students immunized.”

And with the weather getting colder, and living spaces tighter, sickness may be inevitable this flu season. As of now, the best step toward wellness is prevention.

University Senior Louise Schiple is used to working closely with people on a day-to-day basis and is doing all she can to avoid the typical symptoms such as stomach problems and overall body ache.

“I carry around anti-bacterial stuff with me on my key chain. I haven’t gotten sick yet while everyone around me is hacking and coughing,” she said. “I really didn’t know how big of a deal this was, but I have always tried my best to stay well.”

Luckily, there is now a working vaccine for the newest influenza that is currently available on campus at the Student Health Center. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people get the shot at the first signs of illness just to be safe. Panic as with the avian flu and fear of a pandemic is not necessary in these situations and should be avoided at all costs.

But some students may think that the best way to stay healthy is to continue eating right and exercising. Nick Porter is not worried about getting sick this winter and believes that he is already doing the best he can to stay healthy, including hydration and adequate rest. “Sickness is all mental, if I convince myself that I am not sick, chances are I will get over it faster,” Porter said. “I still don’t think that I will get sick.”

So far, the United States loses 36,000 people to influenza a year and these numbers could go up if people ignore the warning signs, according to the CDC.

Still, Egelman assures that as long as the flu shot is given 48-72 hours after the first onset of symptoms it can be just as easily curable as the previous strains of the virus.

“We want to tell students that we still have shots at the Health Center,” Egelman said. “Our medication has the effective drug that works and we’re all set.”