Flu season is here and Eastern Michigan University’s health officials are urging students to get a flu shot as early as possible.
To help students avoid getting sick, University Health Services will be offering flu vaccinations at several locations on campus through the rest of the month.
“Anybody who shares airspace with another person should get a flu shot,” said Carol Smith, a nurse at the Snow Health Center.
The flu is an easily spread airborne virus that thrives on college campuses and other places where large groups of people routinely interact with each other in small, enclosed areas like classrooms and elevators.
“People who live in dorms are a high priority,” Smith said. “I strongly urge everybody to get a flu shot, even healthy individuals.”
Thousands of EMU students contract the flu every year. EMU professor Cheryl Cassidy said it’s the most common excuse given to her for why a student misses class.
“It’s not surprising that they get it,” Cassidy said. “Many of my students are working and they’re overtired.”
EMU professor Arnold Mackowiak has had a similar experience.
“It seems like it affects up to a quarter of my students or more,” Mackowiak said.
Flu shots will be available at the Snow Health Center on Oct. 28 from 10 am. to 1 pm. and in room 101B at the College of Business on Oct. 23 from 11 am. to 1 pm. and in Ballroom A of the Student Center on Oct. 31 from 10 am. to 1 pm.
Students with an EMU student health insurance plan can get vaccinated for free. Those without coverage can still get a flu shot, but must pay $30. Those paying for the vaccination can use cash, check, a credit card or have it e-billed to their student tuition account.
EMU’s health officials recommend getting the shot as early as possible because it takes the human body two weeks after being vaccinated to develop enough antibodies to provide protection from the flu.
Flu season affects countless Americans each year. According to the Snow Health Center, around 36,000 deaths are associated with the flu every year, and it is also responsible for over 200,000 hospitalizations.