Flu season on the horizon

VACCINE (Julie Tran/Lariat )

Julie Tran

The flu season is coming soon and in order for students to protect themselves, Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College are giving out flu vaccinations. Saddleback’s Heath Center will be giving out the vaccine free for its students while IVC will have their students pay $15 in order to receive the shot.

Regardless if students decide to pay for the vaccination or not, school officials say that getting the shot makes a great difference in a person’s health.

Chris Hogstedt, IVC’s director of the Health and Wellness Center, is a big believer of immunization and says that anyone should receive the flu shot.

“The flu season in California goes from November to April,” said Hogstedt, “So it’s best for people to get the shot once a year,”

Hogstedt listed off a few of the symptoms commonly found in the flu. These include a high fever, non-productive cough, chills, as well as body fatigue. The typical duration of the flu can go for one to two weeks, but it also depends on the severity of the flu.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the flu virus is spread person-to-person and it’s typically surface based. It can also be passed by sharing drinks as well as contact by the hands. Hogstedt advised that touching the face can also allow the flu virus to enter the body via nasal and oral passageways.

The flu vaccine changes every year in order to combat different strains of the flu virus. For example, the H1N1 virus from last year wasn’t an addition in the vaccine since it was an entirely new strain not found on U.S. grounds. However, the flu vaccine for this year is updated with a weakened form of the H1N1 virus as well as the H3N2 virus and Influenza B. When people receive the flu shot, Hogstedt said that some of the patients complain of getting flu-like symptoms right after the shot.

“Getting the flu shot doesn’t guarantee that you’ll not get the flu,” Hogstedt said. “The person who had the flu shot would receive a less straining form of the flu instead of the full-blown version,”

In order to have adequate supplies of the flu vaccine, IVC’s Health Center has to order the vaccine as early as February. The shots are given on a first-come, first-serve basis in order to accommodate the students and faculty who desire getting inoculated. However, there are methods students and faculty can follow in order to prevent getting the flu virus.

Frequent hand-washing, rest, adequate fluid intake, and staying warm are some of the ways people can protect themselves from the flu.

Ethan Letrong, 18, graphic design, said that he follows these methods as well as taking in oral supplements such as Airborne in order to not get sick.

As the flu season rolls in, Hogstedt said that it’s important for people to get their flu shots in order to function during the winter. She stated that due to busy lifestyles, students and faculty alike cannot afford to miss too much of school or work. In addition, the flu can cause extreme difficulties in the body and eventually lead up to bronchitis, sinus infections, and to a graver extent, death. However, if the person has a fever over 101 degrees, then the person is advised to stay home.

For more information regarding the immunization, contact either IVC’s Health and Wellness Center at (949) 451-5221 or Saddleback’s Student Health Center at (949) 582-4606.