Staying protected this flu season

Halley Berg points out the variety of health care options that Wick Primary Care offers. Photo by Jessica Stamp / The Jambar

By Jessica Stamp

With the cold and flu season here, it is imperative for students at Youngstown State University to protect themselves from sickness and to stay healthy. 

Carrie Clyde, wellness coordinator, feels that people are listening to their bodies more nowadays, so it allows them to pick up on any signs that something might be wrong.

“People are more in tune with how they’re feeling on a regular basis and monitoring their signs and symptoms,” Clyde said. “I feel like [almost] all people have a very heightened state of awareness of when they’re not feeling well [and] being in close proximity with others.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best time to get the flu vaccine is in September or October because it takes two weeks to develop antibodies to protect against the flu virus. 

“It is early in the season, and I know many people are still getting inoculated with a vaccine for the flu, so hopefully as the months go on that will continue to be the trends,” Clyde said.

The flu virus changes constantly, so the CDC’s Influenza Division and the World Health Organization Collaborating Centers and National Influenza Centers to safely select the flu vaccine and what needs to be updated. For this season, the flu vaccine is able to protect against four different flu strains that researchers believe would be most contagious. 

The CDC conducts year-round research on circulating flu viruses and uses this data to assess population risk and recommend the vaccine to put into production for the upcoming flu season.

The CDC website states that 43% of 18-64 year olds have received the flu vaccine for the 2021-22 flu season. 

Halley Berg, lead medical assistant at Wick Primary Care, said there is not much research and data about how the flu vaccine affects COVID-19, but it is still important to get both vaccines.

“However, getting the flu shot definitely reduces your risk of getting ill from the flu and other respiratory [illnesses],” Berg said. “The vaccines do significantly lessen the effects of the COVID and flu symptoms.”

If a student wants to get the flu vaccine, Wick Primary Care accepts walk-ins and appointments.

Since the flu season starts in October and lasts until May, Berg and Clyde express the importance of wearing masks to protect yourself and others with health related issues, washing hands and using hand sanitizer frequently, staying healthy by drinking water and getting exercise.  

“Be smart, wear your mask, wash your hands and just follow the CDC guidelines,” Berg said. 

Both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine can be administered at the same appointment depending on the location of the local health care provider. 

For more information about flu vaccines, visit Wick Primary Care on YSU’s website.