Efforts to keep the common flu from spreading on campus have become a high priority at the U.
Housing and Residential Education custodial staff are increasing efforts at student dorms to clean shared spaces and objects, such as door handles. HRE also suggests that students wash their hands often, get enough sleep and drink water throughout the day.
Cynthia Powell, nurse manager at the Student Health Center, advises anyone on campus to get the flu shot to stay healthy during the cold winter months.
“Every year, when [the Centers for Disease Control] manufacture the flu shot, they make it effective against the most variant strains,” she said.
Powell said the flu shot is made to immunize patients from four types of the common flu. She also said 800 to 1,000 U students, including their spouses and dependents, received a flu shot this Fall Semester. Though the vaccine varies each year and may not be the best match against the most contagious strains, Powell thinks receiving a vaccination is one of the most important steps in preventing the flu.
“It is always better to get a vaccination than not,” she said. “Everyone in the medical profession encourages people to get them.”
Though ASUU and the Student Health Center are no longer providing the flu shot, Powell said it is not too late to get one. The shots are distributed in the early fall, but do not expire until June 2015. Due to Utah’s late winters, it is suggested that those who did not get a shot in October or November, still try to. Local pharmacies, those inside of Walgreens and Smith’s, for example, and personal healthcare providers will still give the shots upon request.
It takes 10 to 14 days for the body to build up a strong immunity to the virus after receiving the shot, with immunity lasting up to 12 months after injection.
Powell said those who do contract the flu should stay home until fully recovered to avoid spreading it to others.
Noah Anderson, an undeclared sophomore, said he already had the flu this year and did not receive the vaccination, though now he wishes he did.
“It’s a community effort, I think, especially after having it,” Anderson said. “The flu comes and goes, but it’s up to us to be responsible.”