Students wasted no time getting sick.
On the first day of the spring semester, Health Services received its first case of the influenza.
Judy Lyle, interim director of Health Services, said after a week into the spring semester she had only seen one student case of the flu.
“We have tested a few others who had significant symptoms,” Lyle said. “While they were negative for flu, the tests are not 100 percent.”
Lyle said as the semester progresses she thinks there will be more cases of the flu. While she said last year was a light flu season, the severity of the flu and how many people it affects changes every year.
Lyle said influenza cases usually begin in late November and increase significantly in December.
She said Health Services administered the flu vaccine in the fall to students, faculty and staff.
“We are out of the vaccine due to cost and dwindling budget,” Lyle said. “We will not be obtaining more this semester.”
Local pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreen’s and Rite Aid carry the flu vaccine for approximately $20 a person.
Lyle said this year the flu vaccine is being touted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being effective for the types of influenza documented across the nation.
According to the CDC, February and March annually show the highest numbers of documented influenza cases.
It takes approximately two weeks to build immunity after receiving the vaccine, Lyle said.
She encourages students to get a flu shot even though flu season is in full swing.
“Most college students have healthy immune systems, but this is one way to avoid missing one or more weeks of school if they get the flu,” Lyle said.
Destiny Lee, freshman from Ledbetter, Ky., said since she believes she has an exceptional immune system, she decided not to get the flu shot this year.
“I have been very fortunate and rarely get sick other than the common cold; with that being said I have never had the flu,” Lee said. “I am conscious of washing my hands often, especially before I eat.”
Lee also said she regularly dresses appropriately for the cold weather, protecting her head from the wind.
Travis Cartwright, senior from Paducah, Ky., said he tries to follow the advice he has heard for years.
“Try to avoid contact with sick people, don’t go to work if you have a fever, cover your mouth when you cough – it’s the same stuff my mom has told me for years,” Cartwright said. “I also try and work out a lot, so hopefully that helps me from getting sick.”
Cartwright said he tries not to get sick because he doesn’t want to miss any classes.
“I’m trying to get good grades and not fall behind,” Cartwright said. “I don’t have time to get sick.”
Lyle and the CDC both say the best way to prevent getting the flu is to wash hands regularly and get the flu vaccine.
Story by Meghann Anderson, News Editor