A cabinet in the health center showcases old medical supplies and manuals. Students can obtain flu shots from the Health Center located in Janzow Campus Center. Photo by Kim Sleeper.
By Autumn Johnson
Concordia students are at continued risk of influenza on campus this flu season. Hundreds of confirmed cases across the state call for close attention to possible symptoms.
According to the most recent Nebraska Influenza Surveillance Report, the state has seen seven deaths related to influenza within the current flu season. Almost 400 hospitalizations due to influenza were also reported.
Campus Nurse Andreea Baker said no influenza cases have been confirmed on campus, but students should watch for symptoms. Symptoms of the flu include fevers over 100 degrees, fatigue, cough, sore throat, congestion, chills and sweats. Unlike the common cold, influenza has a quick onset and can keep students out of classes for five to seven days. Baker also said it is not too late to get the flu shot.
“You can get the flu shot up until March. It does take about two weeks to take effect. Last I heard it was about 40 percent effective which, I know, doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s 40 percent more immunity that people have to influenza than if (they) don’t have the flu shot at all,” Baker said.
Freshman Malia Rolf’s employer required her to get a flu shot, but she said she would not have gotten one otherwise because she does not like needles.
“I feel like it ties into all other vaccinations. Like the vaccines that eradicated polio and stuff are pretty important. They have saved a lot of lives, but the flu shot, I guess, (the flu) is sometimes life-threatening, but it’s not as concerning in most cases. So I don’t think it’s one hundred percent necessary, but it’s totally each person’s decision,” Rolf said.
Anyone who chooses not to get the flu shot can do other simple things to keep germs away. It is important to wash hands frequently, eat a well-balanced diet, get seven to eight hours of sleep every night, change toothbrushes, cover coughs, drink lots of water, and monitor stress.
Students who think they may be experiencing symptoms of the flu should see the nurse. Flu swabs must be done at the hospital or Urgent Care to confirm a case of influenza, but treatment can be started on campus.
“So the biggest thing you want to do and why we say people should come in right away is because we can start people on antivirals. So you still have influenza. It’s not taking it away; it just helps your recovery time and minimizes symptoms,” Baker said.
Flu shots will continue to be administered at the Memorial Health Care Systems Specialty Clinic and Walmart Supercenter in Seward for anyone who would like to be vaccinated.