The flu is the enemy.
It attacks the body with aches, a swollen sore throat, high fever and with the relentless runny nose and tissue piles.
Every year, many BYU students and faculty catch the flu, but there are many resources to prevent sickness during finals and the holidays.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the “seasonal flu season” in the U.S. can begin as early as October and last as late as May. The seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal-spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances someone will get the flu and spread it to others.
Each flu season, researchers determine which influenza virus will be the most common during the upcoming season, and that vaccine is the one distributed to the public. Flu vaccines create antibodies in the body about two weeks after vaccination, which helps fight off the virus.
Kathryn Arbon, a nursing major, was required to get the flu shot for her clinical work.
“My flu shot was practically painless,” Arbon said. “It’s a relief that I don’t now have to worry about sickness interfering as much in my life or those I am helping to get better.”
Flu.gov, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said individuals can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it.
Robert Haas, a practicing orthopedic surgeon from Logan, has his own insight on getting the flu shot.
“There is no need for flu shots to be universally mandatory, but they are good to get if you are more at risk,” Haas said. “Some people can’t get flu shots because of allergies or other health problems, but for most people they are probably beneficial.”
People who are most at risk for dying from the flu are seniors who are age 65 or older, children under the age of 2 and people who suffer from chronic health conditions.
The flu vaccine is available at most pharmacies such as Walgreens, Target, CVS and the BYU Student Health Center. For most of these places, no appointment is necessary and almost all health insurance is accepted.