Flu shots offered on campus

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  • Flu shots are available on campus at either the Student Health Service or the Marquette Neighborhood Health Center.
  • Student Health Service is offering flu shots for $30 via appointment during normal business hours.
  • The Marquette Neighborhood Health Center is holding walk-in flu clinics on Nov. 25 and Dec. 2 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for for $40 for those without insurance.
  • The center also offers flu shots on weekdays with an appointment.

Students hoping to inoculate themselves against the influenza virus, spread through this season's onslaught of coughing, nose blowing and sneezing, have a couple of options on campus.

Both Student Health Service in Schroeder Complex and the Marquette Neighborhood Health Center, 1834 W. Wisconsin Ave., are now offering flu vaccinations.

It is recommended that people get a flu shot annually because the virus mutates and has different strains, said Amy Melichar, coordinator for Health Education and Promotion.

"Getting a flu shot is a nice added preventive measure to combat the flu," Melichar said.

Maureen O'Brien, a clinical associate professor in the College of Nursing, recommended students get flu vaccinations because the virus is highly contagious, especially with large groups of students constantly interacting with each other.

"If you are not protected against the flu and you are exposed to it, it can make you feel quite miserable and affect your ability to study for final exams, go to Marquette basketball games or enjoy your winter break," O'Brien said.

Students run a high risk of catching the influenza virus because of their lifestyle, said Margaret Berner, nurse manager of the Marquette Neighborhood Health Center. She said staying up late at night, eating junk food and lack of exercise can stress the immune system. Plus, students come into close contact with those who are sick.

"Dorms and classrooms are primary places to get upper respiratory tract infections, like the flu," Berner said.

She said receiving a flu vaccination is the best way to combat the infection. The higher the immunization rate within a group of people, such as students on a college campus, the lower the infection rate will be, Berner said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone be vaccinated this year, especially because there is plenty of vaccine available, Berner said.

The flu season generally lasts from September to May. Berner said the earlier someone receives the vaccine, the more protected that person is.

The flu vaccination this year contains three strains of influenza, Berner said. The strains are chosen each year by the CDC based on estimates of which types will likely circulate in the United States. These calculations are based on factors such as patterns of travel, Berner said.

The viruses contained in the vaccination trigger the immune system to produce antibodies to combat those strains, Berner said. The process of making antibodies takes about two weeks.

Berner said the vaccine provides good protection against the three strains contained within it. Even if a person becomes infected with a different strain, the vaccination will still help weaken the sickness, she said.

There are two types of flu vaccine, O'Brien said. One is trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine, which is the flu shot given by injection. The other is live attenuated influenza vaccine, and is given by intranasal spray.

Allie Stummer, a junior in the College of Business Administration, said she does not plan to get a flu shot because she is afraid of needles. Plus, she said there is still a possibility of catching the virus even if a person receives the vaccination.

Jesse Dill, a second year Marquette Law student, spent $30 on a flu shot at Marquette's "Shoo the Flu" campaign in October.

Dill said he believes the university should subsidize the cost of flu shots for students.

"It is a significant expense that can easily deter students from getting (a flu shot), but I think it would be worth it for Marquette to prevent any sort of outbreak," Dill said. "Students are in such closed quarters, especially in the winter, that it's easy to catch something. That costs time and money for the students and the university."

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