Flu Season 2018: vaccinations and you

Adam Galliano, Staff Writer

Every year, during the fall and winter months, many people become afflicted with the seasonal flu virus.

The Centers for Disease Control have estimated that, during the winter of 2017/2018, an estimated 80,000 fatalities occurred in the United States as a direct result of complications from viral influenza infections, with over 900,000 hospitalizations as a direct result of the flu virus during this time period, making 2017 the most severe year on record for the flu virus, as documented by the CDC. The most common form of prevention is the influenza (flu) vaccine.

So what is a vaccine? Flu vaccines are inoculations that cause antibodies to develop in the body. These antibodies protect against infection caused by the influenza virus, with the viruses that are in the vaccine. The CDC states that by getting an annual influenza vaccine, you can greatly reduce your risk of contracting the virus. Some symptoms of the seasonal flu include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • sometimes diarrhea and vomiting

According to the CDC, the seasonal flu, otherwise known as the influenza virus is defined “as a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.” People who are at the most risk include the very young and the elderly, as well as those women who are pregnant and people that have prior chronic medical conditions. Further information provided by the CDC indicates the risks associated with the flu virus in children as being is especially troubling, as the number of infant deaths since 2011 has been calculated to be more than 700.

Persons afflicted by the flu virus may show some or all of the symptoms, and although the severity varies individually, the risk and spread of the virus by getting vaccinated can greatly reduce the risk of fatalities and severe illnesses. I spoke with Dr. Robert McKie, M.D. about the importance of flu vaccines and he states “Influenza is a serious and sometimes fatal disease. The flu vaccine offers real protection.”

So, where can you go to get vaccinated locally? On the Lewis-Clark campus all LCSC students, full and part-time, are eligible to utilize services at Student Health located in the Sam Glenn Complex, Room 205. Other locations in the LC valley include most local pharmacies and some grocery stores such as Albertson’s and Costco. Most flu vaccines cost anywhere from $10 to $40 depending on the location and the patient’s insurance coverage.