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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Student Health Services to provide free on-campus flu shots

Student+Health+Services+receives+about+700+flu+cases+each+year.
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Student Health Services receives about 700 flu cases each year.

For the 15th straight year, Student Health Services at Texas A&M will be providing free on-campus vaccinations in an effort to help students combat the flu.
On Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., SHS will be providing 4,000 free flu shots to currently enrolled students. This annual campaign will be set up at the Wehner Building, the Memorial Student Center, the Emerging Tech Building and Evans Library.
According to SHS, this year’s vaccination will include four strains. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a study by the CDC is conducted to ensure the most prevalent strains of the influenza virus are in the vaccination.
“We receive approximately 700 cases of the flu per year,” Alyssa Barigian, health communications and marketing manager, said. “Response varies based on the availability of the vaccine, prevalence of flu-like illness in a given year and other factors.”
In the past three years during the flu shot campaign, SHS has given away as many as 5,300 flu shots, according to Barigian.
Tiffany Skaggs, A&M physician, said beside the possibility of missing five to seven days of work or school, one can also be diagnosed with pneumonia if the illness becomes severe.
“Catching the flu is at best a nuisance and at worst a life threatening event,” Skaggs said. “Secondary infections, such as pneumonia can cause serious illness, hospitalizations and, rarely, death.”
Skaggs said she wants to reassure students who may be skeptical of getting their flu shot that the shot is important to their personal safety as well as the safety of their fellow students.
“Flu shots help keep you from getting the flu and from spreading the flu to others,” Skaggs said. “You can’t get the flu from the flu shot. Flu shots are generally safe and well tolerated.”
Jessica Monreal, marketing senior, was one of those unsure of flu vaccinations until she experienced two major flu-related events.
“I didn’t really think it worked,” Monreal said. “I was skeptical about it. I was like, ‘eh, I’ll be fine, because I’ve never gotten the flu,’ so I always kind of put it on my immune system to keep it away, but this time I got hit pretty bad.”
During her senior year of high school, Monreal almost lost her mother to pneumonia caused by influenza. After her near death experience, Monreal’s mother has encouraged her to get vaccinated.
“So my mom got sick with the flu and pneumonia my senior year of high school, and she almost died from it,” Monreal said. “It was pretty bad. It was her near death experience, and after that she’s been very adamant about getting her shot every year, and she always encourages me to get mine.”
Despite being warned by her mom, Monreal said she sometimes still decided to skip out on the annual shot, trusting that her immune system to keep the virus away.
Monreal said she had a change of heart after she recently caught a terrible case of the virus for the first time. Monreal said this time she will be getting a free on-campus flu shot.
“It was one of the most terrible things I’ve experienced,” Monreal said. “I felt like my insides were going to fall out or throw them up … It was just really debilitating.”
According to the CDC, not only can the vaccination prevent the flu, but if you are diagnosed with the virus, a vaccination may make your illness milder.
For more information on getting your flu shot visit http://shs.tamu.edu/.

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