Assistant Mosaic Editor
The first day of spring semester classes — or as students fondly call it “Silly Week” because professors just review syllabi — should be spent looking at schedules, trying to find your building and attempting to make it to class on time.
Instead, Rachel Bova, a junior hotel, restaurant, institutional management major woke up with a cough, a terrible headache and felt “very, very bad.” Not the way you’d want to feel when you were getting introduced to your schedule for the next three months.
But rather than go back to bed, she decided to trudge through the day, knowing that it is not a good idea to miss the first week of classes.
When she went to health services, they asked her if she had gotten the flu shot, to which she replied “No.” But now, her twin sister was also sick, and as for her roommate, well, “She got the flu shot — so she’s safe.”
But what exactly is Rachel’s roommate safe from?
She is safe from influenza and its symptoms. Or, as the CDC defines “a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.”
Yes, death. However, it is most lethal to infants, pregnant woman and those about the age of 65 or above.
According to a university statement, more than 20 new flu cases have been diagnosed on campus this week as students have returned to campus for the spring semester.
According to the Delaware Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report, the week five, or last week, there were 238 cases of flu in Delaware contributing to a total of 896 cases thus far for the 2016-2017 season. The outbreak also has reached beyond the state’s borders — CDC also says that five out of six states in the region have reported widespread activity, including Delaware, Washington D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
Carolyn Haines, director of the Nurse Managed Primary Care Center at Star Campus, says that everyone should get their flu shot, especially college students. She insists that when she was in school she always got the shot.
“Truthfully they should be getting it as much as anyone because they are all in close quarters in the dorms,” Haines says.
Additionally, Haines says the current flu shot, Quadrivalent, protects people by giving them last year’s strain of influenza. Four strains to be exact, but you don’t actually get the virus from the shot — “It’s not a live vaccine, it cannot give you the flu, that’s a big misconception,” Haines says.
Haines recommends getting the flu shot in October or November and says that August is too early. The shot itself lasts for six months. Flu season, Haines says, peaks in the dead of winter.
It is still not too late to get the flu shot, as flu season lasts until the end of April. If you are like Rachel and are having flu symptoms, Haines says it’s not too late for you either.
However, she recommends you wait a few weeks.
“I imagine most people, just knowing human nature, probably wouldn’t, because they think their immune once they’ve had it,” Haines says. “But there are different strains that travel around, so it’s probably not a bad idea.”