Guess Who’s Back (Hint: It’s the Flu)

by Rachel Long
assistant opinions editor

The flu is upon us here at Millsaps, and campus nurse Carol Lowe has the information we need to stay healthy this year. She confirms that there have been only a few positive flu tests on campus, but warns that often a flu test will be negative within the first 48 to 72 hours of the virus. Nurse Lowe reported that about 20 people have been treated for the flu by the start of last week.

The first step in flu prevention is, of course, good sanitation. Lowe stresses the importance of washing your hands often and keeping them away from your face. She also encourages students with coughs to cough into their elbows to avoid contaminating others (even if you don’t think you are sick).

The flu shot is especially important this time of year. Our clinic uses a killed virus flu shot, so there is a reduced risk [KM1] of getting the flu from it. The clinic had approximately 50 shots left at the beginning of this week, so I recommend getting the shot while it is still accessible. Getting the shot on campus is a good deal because our campus clinic makes no profit from its visitors; it only charges the cost of what you need, without markup. The shot costs only $22 (compared to Walgreens’ $39.99) and the clinic accepts check, exact cash or business office charge.

flickr/Bradley Gordon
flickr/Bradley Gordon

The flu shot takes two weeks to generate full immunity, so it is better to get it now than later. “Don’t wait until people around you get sick,” Lowe urges students. “By then you’ve had so much exposure that you may have had the virus for days, making the shot ineffective.”

In defending yourself against the flu, it is important to have a good offense. If you are feeling achy and feverish, you should get tested for the flu immediately. Students can visit the Wesson Health Center throughout the school week, but the clinic is closed on weekends.