Protect Yourself with an Annual Flu Shot

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The first weeks of fall quarter bring with them the annual return of our old friend, the flu — which means the season of sniffling students and classroom coughing is well upon us.

Last year, Health Services gave out a record number of 3838 flu vaccinations. This year, they are again offering vaccinations to students on an appointment basis. A quick trip to 633 Emerson St. can prevent losing days, or even weeks, of school and work. Students can schedule appointments on weekdays during business hours through the Personal Health Portal or by calling 847-491-2204.

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention recommends receiving a flu vaccination every year. While it suggests being vaccinated by the end of October before the flu spreads within the community, later vaccinations are still beneficial. Flu season often lasts well into the spring and tends to peak between December and February.

Annual vaccination is the most effective way to protect against the flu, which can result in hospitalization or death. Last year, vaccinations prevented about 5 million flu-related illnesses across the country. Students with chronic illnesses — such as asthma or diabetes — are at higher risk of flu complications and should remain especially mindful.

Despite students’ common belief that they won’t get sick, the flu can spread rapidly at universities due to crammed, close living quarters. Beyond being vaccinated, the CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions such as frequent hand washing, regular sleep and staying home or leaving work when sick.

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Students covered by the University’s Aetna health insurance plan can receive the vaccination at no cost. Others will receive a receipt for a $25 out-of-pocket charge, which may or may not be covered under individual insurance plans. Make sure to stop by Health Services and encourage your friends to do the same — investing just a few minutes can make your, and all of our, back-to-school months that much smoother.