Manchester University
Oak Leaves

October 27, 2018

8 ways to prevent the flu


Flu Vaccinations Available on Campus

Allyson Fogerty


29-year-old Scarlett Levinson was enjoying her day as she normally would, having recovered, so she thought, from the flu. A practicing lawyer and wife living in North Carolina, Levinson went for her usual jog early this October. Afterwards, her husband found her passed out on the bathroom floor and rushed her to urgent care.

Last year, over 900,000 American individuals were hospitalized with influenza.

Flu shots are one way that doctors and physicians can help individuals combat the flu and increase the likelihood of a flu season passed without tragedy. Most individuals who get the flu will not have any complications and will get over the illness in approximately two weeks. The population of individuals who are at risk of complications, and death, are children under the age of five, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women and residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

There are many misconceptions regarding the flu shot. One common misconception is that it will make one sick. Not all flu vaccines include a live flu virus, however. Most flu shots are composed of virus-defending cells grown in egg cultures. When administered, the vaccine protects against a certain, usually most common, strain of the virus. The vaccines that contain a live flu virus are used only in individuals deemed appropriate to receive such a vaccine. Even so, the live-virus flu vaccination does not cause the flu; the weakened form of the flu virus found in said vaccine is designed to multiply only at cooler temperatures. The side effects of the vaccine are those of the common cold and last only a few short days, preferable to a severe case of the flu. Manchester University is doing its part in helping keep the flu season as worry-free as possible by offering free flu shots to faculty and staff under campus insurance, and if there are vaccines left over, students are able to receive flu shots for a low fee of $15. Campus nurse Anna Richison says that it is important for college students and faculty to get the flu vaccine because of the close living quarters.

So far in this vaccination period at the university, 101 faculty and staff received the flu shot as well as three students. Flu season lasts from October to April, and it is recommended not to get the flu shot until October as it only offers coverage from illness for six months.

Richison said that she will always encourage individuals to get the flu vaccine. As a campus nurse, she often sees cases of many students who come into the office complaining of the same symptoms. When this happens, Richison takes necessary precautions and even alerts the campus custodial staff of the heightened illness.

Richison and the other members of Manchester University’s Health and Wellness Office offered many precautions other than the flu shots themselves to keep students, faculty and staff healthy during the flu season. When one walks into the offices, there is a wall full of informational pamphlets and previously published “Toilet Talks” offering information on illness and prevention. There is a “STOP” station where students who have illness symptoms are encouraged to grab a paper face mask to keep the spreading of germs at a minimum, and there are countless signs giving individuals information on how to lessen the spread of common illnesses.

While many individuals may see the temporary pain of a flu shot to be too much of a hassle to deal with, flu shots can protect against week-long illness, and in extreme cases, death.

Scarlett Levinson died due to complications from the flu virus. She left behind a devastated group of family, friends and coworkers.