Rage against the flu

On Oct. 20, the Student Health Clinic will fight the flu with influenza immunizations from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m.

English professor Stephanie Tingley said she recognizes that her courses may be affected by flu season.

“When flu sweeps through a class, it is tough to keep things moving forward in class, and nobody — myself included — is an academic machine,” she said.

Kathy Papa, a YSU alumna and local medical practice owner, said flu spreads easily on a college campus.

“Kids come into contact with so many people at college,” Papa said. “They are constantly in crowds and big groups of people, whether they’re in class or walking across campus.”

Papa, a registered nurse, administers flu vaccines. She said she’s seen the effectiveness of vaccinations firsthand.

“Your chances of getting the flu are greatly reduced, which is fantastic when college-age kids are already so susceptible to so many different viruses and flus,” Papa said.

But not all Youngstown State University students are convinced.

“I don’t think it’s that important to get flu shots, unless you have an absolutely terrible immune system,” said Kimber Misel, a senior at YSU.

In their annual influenza surveillance report, Ohio Department of Health officials recommend that everyone over the age of 6 months receives the flu vaccine in 2012. More than 3,000 Ohio residents die from influenza complications each year, and the preventability of the illness makes getting vaccinated more important than ever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The vaccine, administered with a hypodermic needle, consists of dead or weakened cells from many different strains of the disease. After receiving the vaccine, students can expect protection to take effect after two weeks, and the vaccine will last one year.

In addition to flu vaccines, YSU will also offer pneumonia vaccinations, which are recommended by the CDC to anyone at high risk for the disease or to those who have suffered from it in previous years. The cost for the pneumonia vaccination is $40.

“You don’t want to miss class,” Papa said. “I make my daughter get it every year.”