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flu shots

It’s not too late to get a flu shot

By SUE WUETCHER

Published January 24, 2013

With Gov. Andrew Cuomo declaring a public health emergency in light of the severity of this year’s flu season, members of the UB community are advised that it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

A flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu, points out Susan Snyder, director of Student Health Services.

While UB is not holding any more formal flu vaccine clinics—the university held several during the fall semester—students still can obtain a free flu shot by making an appointment at Student Health Services, Snyder says.

And students, as well as faculty and staff, can obtain flu shots at their doctor’s office and at local pharmacies, she adds.

“The more individuals at UB who get vaccinated, the less flu can spread in our community,” she says.

Snyder says Student Health Services follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines related to influenza prevention and vaccination: Everyone age 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year.

“Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently,” she notes. “Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.”

Snyder says the vaccine protects against the three flu viruses research indicates will cause the most illness during the upcoming season. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

In the U.S., flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May. During this time, flu viruses are circulating in the population.

Snyder says that in combination with an annual flu shot, there are a number of simple things individuals can do every day to stop the spread of germs:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

For more information on the flu, visit the Student Health Services website.