Every year anywhere from 100-250 CSU students suffer from an illness that health officials say is 100 percent preventable.
The seasonal flu runs its course every year from the months of October through April and vaccinations are available to all students at CSU.
The peak months for the seasonal flu to infect people in this region of the U.S. are January and February, said Lisa Dugan, the Immunization coordinator for CSUâ€™s Health Network.
Each year CSU sees little increase in the number of seasonal flu cases it treats, Dugan said.
In 2004 the flu season hit CSU harder than normal, she said. That particular year brought in an unusually high number of flu cases at the beginning of the season causing the immunization department to distribute about 2,000 flu shots in the first few months of the season.
The health center and the university are both strongly encouraging students with flu-like symptoms to stay in bed and not attend classes, Dugan said.
She added this is the best way to prevent the unnecessary spread of flu cases on campus.
â€œThe flu has a very sudden onset, thatâ€™s what separates it from the cold,â€ she said, adding that many people confuse the two illnesses.
The seasonal flu tends to cause fever, achiness, headaches and upper respiratory problems along with fatigue. The symptoms usually last for about five-to-seven days but the severity depends on the person.
An anti-viral medication can be used to treat flu if people seek treatment within 48 hours of experiencing symptoms, Dugan said.
This medication usually helps clear the virus faster and shortens the sickness time by one or two days. However she said the vaccination isnâ€™t any sort of magic treatment and symptoms will still be present.
CSUâ€™s Immunization Department is working with the Health Promotions office at Harthshorn Health Center to reach students through its website and through posters around campus. The clinic is also offering vaccinations on other areas on campus such as the Lory Student Center to be more helpful for students.
Immunizations are available on a walk-in basis and cost $20 for students and $25 for non-students. Hartshorn is located west of the library and east of the IM fields. The immunization department is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m.
Students all over campus are taking different approaches to flu season.
â€œIâ€™m not too concerned about flu season. I feel like it generally affects the elderly and the young. Iâ€™ll take normal precautions like washing my hands,â€ said Blake Moyer, freshman history education major.
Jaime Kreakemeier, sophomore business marketing and management major, said that she was worried about this yearâ€™s flu season and will likely be getting her shot soon.
â€œIt affects all aspects of your life â€“â€“ work, school, everything,â€ Kreakemeier said.
Dugan said after last yearâ€™s H1N1 pandemic, which brought in about 500 students with H1N1-like symptoms, the Health Network is unsure of what to expect.
In fact, each year the vaccine changes based on the different forms the virus takes.
Scientists seek information from foreign countries whose flu seasons strikes earlier than ours, Dugan said. Based on these findings, scientists do the best they can to come up with a vaccine that will immunize U.S. citizens against the seasonal flu.
The most common myth people hear about flu shots is that they give you a slight case of the flu. But Dugan said. â€œYou cannot get the flu shot from the flu.â€
The vaccine takes a couple of weeks to become effective, so if students wait until the prime time of flu season to get vaccinated, they are still prone to getting the flu even after having been vaccinated.
Staff writer Hannah Cornish can be reached at email@example.com.
Get your flu shot
- Hours: Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.
- Phone number: 970-491-6548
- Prices: $20 for students and $25 for non-students
- Location: Hartshorn building just west of Morgan Library and east of the IM fields
- When you can start getting vaccinated: Now – January or February (based on availability)