As flu season quickly approaches, the Colonial Health Center is encouraging everyone to get a flu shot before the end of October.
By Briahnna Brown
With temperatures dropping each day and flu season approaching, members of the George Washington University community are encouraged to protect themselves with a flu vaccine.
The 2018-2019 flu season was record-breaking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), because of its duration, and the 2017-2018 flu season was the most severe in 10 years.
The Colonial Health Center (CHC) provides flu vaccines through the winter months to help the GW community prevent the influenza virus and the complications that could come with it.
Flu vaccines are available 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday at the Colonial Health Center at no cost to students with the GW Student Health Insurance plan—or $25 for those with outside insurance. The vaccine is also offered at multiple pharmacies in the area at little to no cost with a private insurance plan.
Isabel Goldenberg, medical director for the CHC, said it is important to note that the vaccine is safe and will not give recipients the flu. She also said that while there are different licensed vaccines for the virus, all are recommended by the CDC.
Dr. Goldenberg shared with GW Today the important things to know about staying safe from the flu this year:
Q: Why should people get a flu shot?
A: People should get a flu shot to protect themselves from getting the flu. Influenza is a highly contagious and serious medical problem. The vaccine can prevent the infection or it can decrease the severity of the symptoms.
Q: What are some complications of the influenza virus?
A: As for symptoms, tudents can get high fevers, a sore throat, runny nose, weakness, body aches, etc., and will not be able to attend classes. We can't predict how the season will be. Some years we see many cases, and students can get complications such as pneumonia or a secondary bacterial infection, which may lead to hospitalizations. Students can come to the CHC for an evaluation if they are in need of medical care.
Q: Who should get the shot?
A: To be protected and protect the community, we all should get a vaccine. The CDC recommends that all adults consider getting the vaccine, especially in an enclosed community where it is important that we all are vaccinated to decrease the chances of an epidemic.
Q: When is the best time to get a flu shot?
A: CDC recommends that we get vaccinated by the end of October as it takes approximately two weeks to develop antibodies after vaccination. The high incidence of flu is usually during the winter months, so we continue to offer the vaccine at the center all through the winter.