Think Ahead: Get Your Flu Shot at Student Health

    Dear Editor,

    Summer is barely over and already there is talk of flu season. Student Health Service has its supply of flu shots available and is encouraging students to come in for their flu shot. You might be thinking: “But hey, I knew someone who said they actually got the flu from the flu shot. So why take the chance?”
    Why? Well, every year in the United States, 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu. Here at UCSD that could be close to 5,000 students, not to mention about 3,000 faculty and staff. That’s a lot of flu virus floating around — literally, floating! Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Think of being in a large lecture hall, or maybe a movie theater; ever hear anyone coughing or sneezing?

    Another way people may become infected is by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. How many door handles, chairs and desktops do you touch in a day?

    Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick. So, that poor guy in Center Hall coughing his head off didn’t really mean to get you sick.

    Since there is only so much you can do to prevent getting the flu, you should get a flu shot. It is still the best protection against the flu. The thought of a fever, body aches and feeling exhausted should have you heading over to Student Health for your flu shot today!

    Flu shots and FluMist (nasal spray) are available on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday. Students with chronic health conditions such as asthma, kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, chronic bronchitis or a weakened immune system pay only $2 for their flu shot. For all other students the cost is $16 for the shot, or $25 for the nasal spray.

    ­­— Debbie Pino-Saballett, MPH
    Director of health education,
    UCSD Student Health Service

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