It’s November, which means the flu season is looming in the distance. And there’s concern this flu season could be bad. 

According to Dr. Ginette Archinal, Elon University physician, the flu season in the U.S. tends to track what happened in the southern hemisphere. Australia had a particularly bad flu season, Archinal said, which could project a similar season for America. 

Last year, there were nearly 43 million cases of the flu across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some concerning symptoms of the flu include a fever above 100 degrees, body aches, chills, sweats and headache. 

Archinal said the best time to get a flu shot is now.

“Any vaccine takes two weeks to work,” she said. “The biggest time of concern is going to be when everybody goes home for Thanksgiving. Particularly people going home to the northeast because flu season tends to start up there and then drift down.”

The flu, like mumps and mono, is spread through respiratory droplets. To avoid getting sick, Archinal recommends not sharing drinks and sneezing and coughing into your elbow — not hands. 

“One of the hallmarks of the flu is that you feel perfectly fine and then all of a sudden you just suddenly get really sick,” Archinal said. “Again, doesn’t mean it is flu, but it is something that is a bit of a warning sign that it may be the flu.”

Heading into flu season, Archinal said it’s important for students to be prepared if the university health center doesn’t have any available appointments.

“There are 6,000 students on campus, we cannot see all 6,000 every day,” she said. “So if there are no appointments available, students need to know where the urgent cares are so that they can be seen off campus if need to be.” 

Archinal also said if you are experiencing symptoms consistent with the flu to get checked out within 48 hours in order for medicine to be effective. 

To make an appointment with the health center, you can call (336) 278-7230 or use the online PhoenixHealth patient portal.

If you missed an on-campus flu vaccine clinic, here are some places you can get flu shots off-campus: