“Avoid it Like the Plague”: How to Not Get Sick this Flu Season



According to the National Safety Council, about 5% to 20% of people in the U.S. get the flu each year, and an average of 200,000 people are hospitalized for it annually.

A cough. A sore throat. A runny nose.

You feel sore every second of the day. You feel fatigued. You may even feel nauseous.

It’s the flu, hiding behind the mask of a measly cold. And right when autumn hits, it barrels down the door with unimaginable force.

Flu season is starting to creep back into the limelight, warning students, faculty and staff to get their flu vaccines before time is up.

Many students are being hit by the abrupt illness, or have memories that prohibit them from ever risking the illness again.

Sophomore Jessica Smith caught the virus from a younger sibling a few years back.

“I had a fever every day for about four days, and I was congested for a week and had a cough that kept me up all night,” Smith said.  “After that, I made my mom take me to the doctor to get the flu shot, like, every year.”

Luckily, Clinic Assistant Karen Thimsen offered some advice to anyone trying to steer clear of the flu.

“If you have any chance of avoiding the flu, vaccination should help you do that,” said Thimsen, adding that people need to remember that the vaccine is only effective about 6 months.

Thimsen also said students want to keep in mind their allergies and sensitivities.

Thimsen said in some cases people cannot even physically get the flu shot because of their physical conditions or allergies, like an egg allergy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that anyone with other allergies like “gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients” should be careful and speak to their doctor before getting the flu shot.

Despite the CDC telling patients to stay home while sick, students often neglect that advice and come to school while ill.

Senior Rebecca Davis told a story of a get-together that turned sickly.

Davis said she got the flu from the children at the daycare where she works. She then passed the illness to four friends spending the night.

“We were all at the same house and I started to feel sick in my stomach. I ended up throwing up for two days straight,” said Davis.

Interacting with flu victims is the most effective way the flu gets to you.

The CDC says patients are contagious even a day prior to showing symptoms.

In order to prevent the flu from hitting you, the CDC advises people to wash their hands often and “disinfect surfaces and objects that may contain germs like the flu.”

Thimsen said she is upset by students who come to school sick because they run the risk of infecting others.