According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this 2012-2013 flu season is likely to be the worst in a decade. Currently, 47 states have recorded cases of the flu. Last year, around 4,400 cases of the flu were reported. This year, there have already been nearly 15,000 and that number is steadily increasing.
The flu is a respiratory disease, which is caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms include headaches, chills, cough, fever, fatigue, diarrhea, congestion, body aches, sore throat and nausea.
The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated. Immunizations are available in a variety of different places such as drugstores, primary care physicians’ offices and on-campus in the LIU Post Medical Services department. Vaccinations are created with antibodies that spread throughout the body after two weeks. These antibodies offer protection against infection with a low dosage of the virus, which is found in the vaccine. The CDC estimates that this year’s flu shot is about 60 percent effective.
The CDC believes that people six months of age and older should get vaccinated this season. People who have certain medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes especially should get a flu shot. It is also highly recommended that pregnant women and people 65 years of age and older get immunized.
“Although I did not get the flu shot this season, I have yet to get the flu. However, I take zinc whenever I feel like I am getting sick. It helps shorten the duration of my cold and speed up my recovery time,” said senior Public Relations major Meredith Minsky.
On January 17, William Milford, director of Medical Services, sent a precautionary email about flu prevention to the LIU Post community. The email details everyday actions that may prevent the spread of germs, such as covering your nose or mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands often with soap and water. If diagnosed with the flu, the CDC recommends that people stay home from work or school until they have had 24 hours without any flu-like symptoms.
“I feel like since we’re all in college, we should be mature enough to know how our bodies react to seasonal sicknesses like the flu. For some people I know, they must get the flu shot every year. I personally have never gotten the flu shot since I’ve been going to Post and I feel fine most of the time. If you notice that you’re frequently getting sick, to the point where you can’t function in class if you can actually go, then that’s definitely the time to get the flu shot,” said senior Mathematics major Michael Riggs.
LIU Post Student Health and Counseling, located in Life Science Building room 154, is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Flu shots are available in the office for $10. For more information, students should contact Student Health and Counseling at 516-299-2345.