Seasonal flu shots available soon for UW students, employees

September 17, 2014

Flu season will soon be upon us and every year, UW–Madison sees its share of influenza. University Health Services (UHS) strongly recommends that all students, faculty and staff get their flu shot. It’s the single best protection against the flu.

It’s easy to do with several campus flu shot clinics coming up. Faculty and staff clinics will begin on Wednesday, Sept.17, with student clinics set to kick off on Friday, Sept. 26.

“It often takes less than 10 minutes to get your flu shot,” says Sarah Van Orman, UHS executive director, “and that 10 minutes will help protect you from missing a week or more of school and work, and possible serious complications. Even healthy people can become severely ill from the flu.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months of age and older get a seasonal flu shot every year. The protection from the flu shot only lasts six to nine months and the vaccine is formulated each year to keep up with changing viruses.

And the earlier, the better — the flu is unpredictable and can start up as early as October.

“It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu,” says Van Orman. “It’s better to get vaccinated early in the fall before the flu season really gets underway.”

“That 10 minutes will help protect you from missing a week or more of school and work, and possible serious complications. Even healthy people can become severely ill from the flu.”

Sarah Van Orman

Typical symptoms of the seasonal flu include fever, sore throat and/or dry cough, runny nose, headaches, body aches and extreme fatigue.

As in previous years, UW–Madison employee clinics are scheduled during dates and at locations separate from the student clinics. Student flu shots are free and given by UHS because they’re covered by the student health fee. UW–Madison employees will receive their flu shots from Home Health United nursing staff through their health insurance program.

Although getting vaccinated is the single best way to prevent the flu, simple practices such as regularly washing your hands with soap and water, not sharing food, drinks or utensils, and avoiding touching your hands to your face can significantly reduce your chances of catching the flu, cold and other illnesses.

If you do get sick, the advice is simple: stay home. It’s a campus expectation that faculty, staff and students stay home from work and class until they are completely free of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications.