Wash your hands, disinfect everything and prepare yourself because everyone’s least favorite time of year is quickly approaching. Amidst the joys of autumn, football season and homecoming comes the misery of flu season.
Each year, millions of people suffer from the seasonal flu. Influenza viruses typically circulate in the United States annually, most commonly from late fall through early spring, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One of the best ways to protect yourself from the flu is by getting vaccinated, but only 46 percent of college students say they typically get vaccinated, according to a 2017 survey from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
College students should do everything possible to protect themselves from catching the flu and resources like the CVS Pharmacy next to campus make that easier.
1. Get the flu shot
CVS pharmacist Meghan Tarter said that now is the time to get a flu shot.
“The single best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu shot,” Tarter said.
By getting the flu shot you protect yourself from the flu, make symptoms less severe if you do contract the flu later and prevent the flu from spreading to others around you.
You can get the flu shot at any CVS location. Almost all insurance policies cover the vaccine in full, and it takes less than 10 minutes. After you get your flu shot at CVS, you will also receive a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase.
Make sure that you bring your health insurance card or a picture of it, and wear clothing that allows for the vaccine to be injected into your upper arm.
2. Take preventative action
There are a variety of vitamins you can use to avoid getting the flu.
“C, B6, and E vitamins all help to prevent you from getting sick,” Tarter said.
Particularly, vitamin C products or supplements are the most effective for keeping the flu at bay, and you can pick them up at CVS.
Fruits and vegetables also contain a lot of vitamins that can help boost your immune system.
Managing your stress is important as well because stress will weaken your immune system, making it harder to fight off viruses.
3. Know the signs
When in doubt, keep your possible flu virus away from others, Tarter said.
“If you think you are sick, stay away,” she said. “Don’t go to class and don’t be out and about.”
Flu symptoms can include but are not limited to:
-Runny or stuffy nose
4. Take care of yourself
Wendy Grimes, the manager of the CVS store on Kentucky Street, said college students are especially at risk for the flu.
“College is such close quarters,” she said. “If one student gets infected, it’s not a week before everyone is infected.”
Avoid being around sick friends or classmates and stay away from public spaces where the flu is getting passed around. Practice good personal hygiene and disinfect your living spaces constantly.
If you do all you can to prevent the flu and still catch it, make sure to respond immediately. Go to a clinic as soon as possible. CVS can fill your prescriptions, and WKU students can use Big Red dollars at any Bowling Green location to pay for flu season items or anything else they need.