Fight sniffles with shots

Olivia Barfield

Nurse practitioner urges students to get vaccine 

Coughs, sneezes and sniffles fill classrooms as flu season quickly approaches.

“It’s airborne, you breathe it in, you touch your desk and then your mouth… you can get it so easily,” said Yolanda Camper, nurse practitioner at the ULM Health Clinic, about the flu.

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. The flu is spread through the eyes, mouth, nose or ears.

“The flu is contagious up to 48 hours before you develop symptoms of it, you might not even know you have it, and you’re spreading it around the campus. Because of that, you need to prevent yourself from getting it,” Camper said.

Camper said the flu usually lasts from one to two weeks and can cause body aches, fever, coughing, a sore throat, a runny nose, headaches, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The flu can result in school absence as well. Cristina Benavides, a residential assistant, recommends getting the flu shot, especially as a college student.

“I actually got the flu three times the year I missed my annual shot, so I usually get it to make sure I’m protected and won’t miss out on school,” Benavides said.

Camper recommends that all students get the flu shot because the risk of getting or spreading the flu is much higher without receiving one.

She said getting the flu shot decreases your risk of needing medical attention for the flu by 60 percent.

“College students are in a closed, contained environment; you don’t know what’s in your classroom,”  Camper said.

According to Camper, flu shots are an easy step towards good health in the upcoming winter months, especially since the disease can spread so quickly.

The flu can also be prevented by a vaccine in the form of nasal spray.

If you would prefer this method, call your doctor’s office to see if they are available there. They are not available at the ULM Health Clinic.

Aside from getting a flu vaccination, students can also prevent the flu by washing their hands and by avoiding touching their eyes, nose, mouth or ears to desist the spreading of germs.

Covering your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze also prevents the spreading of germs.

The ULM Health Clinic has flu shots available now.

These shots are free for Vantage Health Plan members and other major insurances are accepted.

If your insurance is not compatible, the cost of the shot is only $30.

Camper said the ULM Health Clinic will be giving flu shots until they run out, which will most likely not be until next year.

Students who want to be vaccinated at the ULM Health Clinic need to bring their insurance card with them to their visist.

Camper said it is also suggested that you bring a friend to help ensure you make it back home safely in case you feel faint after you receive your vaccination.

The ULM Health Clinic is located across from Madison Hall and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.