The Student Health Center is offering flu shots to all Lamar University students, faculty and staff, by appointment, for $25.

“The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent influenza on campus and in the community,” Shawn R. Gray, Student Health Center director, said. “The fewer people who contract the flu, the less likely it is to spread.”

Gray said everybody should be concerned about catching the flu.

“It is a highly contagious virus spread through the air,” she said. “Influenza season begins in October and usually through April.”

Gray said flu symptoms are well known.

“If you catch the flu, you will experience high fevers, body aches, some coughing and generalized fatigue,” she said.

Gray said that receiving a flu shot at the beginning of the season not only protects the person receiving the shot, but also protect others from the flu.

“It can keep you from getting the flu, keep you out of the hospital and others out of the hospital,” she said. “It is a preventative measure to those with chronic conditions that may worsen if they got the flu. It protects pregnant women before and after birth, and it protects their child from the flu after birth.”

Flu symptoms can keep students out of classes, Gray said.

“You will not be able to go to class due to weakness and fatigue for at least two weeks,” she said. “If you have ever had a cold, you can get the flu. Both are viruses. Viruses show no prejudices on who they infect.

“Illness is part of living in a society. Steve Jobs was one of the wealthiest men in the world but all of his money could not stop him from getting sick.”

Gray said the only downside to a flu shot is that one has to get one every year.

“The influenza virus mutates and, therefore, becomes resistant to vaccines, so new ones need to be manufactured to match the specific virus of that season,” she said.

According to the Center for Disease Control, there are about 31.4 million cases of the flu every season, or about five to 20 percent of the United States population. The CDC also states that around 200,000 Americans are hospitalized because of the flu.

For more information, call 880-8466.

Story by Chandler Smith, UP contributor 

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