Getting Ready for Flu Season

Flu season is approaching, but what can you do to prevent yourself from getting sick? Here is a quick guide to all of your questions. 

 

What’s the flu, and what does it do to my body? 

According to the CDC, the flu, also called influenza, is a respiratory illness, which means that your lungs and other structures that help you breathe are affected. There are two types of flu: type A and type B, which can be mild or severe — type A is typically more severe. The flu is a virus, which essentially means that genetic information from the virus codes for sickness and hijacks your cells to make more of the virus in your body. Symptoms of the flu include fever, runny nose, sore throat, body aches, headaches, and tiredness. 

Photo courtesy of Twinsfisch 

When is flu season? 

Flu season is usually around fall and winter, beginning in October. It can even last until May. Putting this in perspective— this is almost the entirety of a university’s academic year.  

 

How do I prevent myself from getting the flu? 

Do yourself (and everyone around you— herd immunity!) a favor: GET VACCINATED! When you get vaccinated, your body creates antibodies that can be used to fight off potential flu viruses over time. Flu vaccines change each year to prepare for new potential flu strains. Because these flu strains can change every year, it is very important to get vaccinated annually. Be careful though— some people may not be eligible to get a flu shot, so check with your doctor if you are unsure. Other than getting vaccinated, make sure to wash your hands regularly and stay away from those who are sick. 

Photo courtesy of Hyttalo Souza

Can I get the flu even if I am vaccinated? 

Long story short, yes. You could contract the flu before getting vaccinated and not know— you could get a strain of the flu that wasn’t covered in the vaccine, or it just might not work. In any case, you should still get vaccinated because the flu vaccine can actually reduce how bad your flu is— or prevent you from getting the flu altogether. The CDC has a really great page about the benefits of vaccines

 

Even though flu season is almost in full swing, make sure to get vaccinated and wash your hands regularly to prevent yourself from getting horribly sick. If you are interested in reading more about the flu, visit the CDC’s page on influenza for the most up-to-date information!