With flu season approaching, Elon University is offering free flu shots to students.
The annual “Elon plague”has traveled around campus, with many students sniffling and showing signs of sickness. Jana Lynn Patterson, dean of Student Health and Wellness at Elon, sent an email Sept. 27 regarding the semi-annual flu shot clinics offered through October and November. Patterson said Elon’s flu season is “between Fall Break and Spring Break,” so she recommends students get their flu shot before Oct. 17, the start of Fall Break.
“The flu tends to migrate from the North to the South and from the West to the East,” Patterson said. “So we know that our students who go home for Fall Break who haven’t gotten a flu shot will bring it with them when they come back.”
The flu mist, which is not provided in Elon-area clinics, carries a live virus, so the flu can be contracted that way.
The shot is free to students who bring their insurance card, but Health Services will charge a $20 fee for students who don’t. The CVS on University Drive near Lowe’s Foods and the Target on University Drive do not require an out of pocket charge and Patterson hopes students who want to avoid clinic dates will take advantage of these resources to protect themselves. She also recommends getting the shot early, especially for those studying abroad during Winter Term.
“You’re in a place that’s unknown to you and the flu and access to resources can be very low,” Patterson said.
Patterson also explained “You can’t get the flu from the flu shot.” The flu is a dead virus when the shot is injected. But flu mist, which is not provided in Elon-area clinics, carries a live virus, so the flu can be contracted that way.
Sophomore Caroline Cirby was protected from the “Elon plague” when she received her flu shot last year.
“Some bug went around my hall and my roommate and I were fine,” Cirby said. “I’d like to think the flu shot helped.”
While the flu shot is the No. 1 recommended way to avoid the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Patterson offers other advice on how to stay healthy.
“Wash your hands, don’t get real close to people, don’t drink after people and don’t touch your face a lot,” Patterson said.