Health Network sees increase in vaccines during flu season

Delaney Allen

As if finals aren’t enough to stress out about, the threat of flu season can also be a major source of stress for students at Colorado State University, as has been the case in years prior.

Influenza, or the flu virus, is a common viral infection most often transmitted through droplets in the air. Most of the time, the flu is not serious and will leave people with moderate symptoms. However, the flu can be dangerous and even deadly for very young or old people, as well as anyone with prior medical concerns.

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The CSU Health Network offers the flu shot for all students, and flu shots are typically a covered benefit under all health insurance plans, meaning there is no out-of-pocket cost for flu shots.

“To date this academic year, we have given 2,842 flu shots,” said Kate Hagdorn, associate director of communications for the CSU Health Network. “That’s an 11% increase in the amount of flu shots we gave at the same time last year.”

The increase in flu shots is in line with a trend the CSU Health Network has observed over the past couple of years. Because of the increase, Hagdorn said the Health Network is encouraged to see more students getting flu shots.

Hagdorn said the flu shot is available at the Health Network as long as it is in stock. Throughout the flu season, the vaccine is reordered and restocked to ensure it is available for anyone who comes in needing one, even into the spring semester.

Students are welcome to walk into the CSU Health Center and receive their flu shots any time during business hours, Hagdorn said. No appointment is necessary.

Hagdorn said it is recommended that students who have the flu stay home and rest instead of going to class, which can not only exhaust students affected with the flu physically and mentally, but it can help spread the virus to peers.

If flu symptoms worsen after five or more days, Hagdorn said students should consider seeing a medical professional who can prescribe antiviral medications to help lessen the symptoms. Antibiotics are not effective against the flu, as they are made to fight infections caused by bacteria, not viruses. 

Some health insurance plans may not cover a flu vaccination, so it is ultimately best for students to check with their providers before seeking vaccination, Hagdorn said. It may be more cost effective for anyone with providers such as Kaiser Permanente or Medicaid to consider going elsewhere for their flu vaccination.

“More this year than other years in the past, students came in to get their flu shot because they don’t want to miss classes,” Hagdorn said. “Especially during this time of year when people are traveling and spending time with loved ones, it’s best to have those protections in place that limit disruptions in life the flu virus can cause.”

Students who experience a health event that prevents them from attending class, such as a bad case of the flu, should consider reaching out to Student Case Management, which can help students navigate academic arrangements. Student Case Management can also be contacted online.

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According to the Center for Disease Control, other means aside from getting a flu vaccination can be taken to prevent contracting the flu, such as washing hands, wiping down surfaces, covering coughs and sneezes and engaging in immune-boosting activities, such as exercising and eating healthy. 

Students can find more information about immunizations at the CSU Health Center on its immunizations webpage.

Delaney Allen can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @DelaneyAllen0.