What to do about the flu
The flu has been spreading like wildfire, engulfing one person after another. But sometimes even the flu shot cannot prevent you from becoming infected.
"The flu shot didn't do anything; I got it, and since then, I got the flu twice this year," says SMC student Richard Martinez.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes that everyone should get the flu shot to prevent themselves from getting the virus. The CDC says the shot is 60 percent effective.
The CDC offers other ways to prevent the spread of the flu, such as washing hands regularly, avoiding touching the eyes, mouth and nose, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces often.
But what if you do all of these things, and still get the flu? The CDC says to stay home and rest for the first 24 hours that you start to experience flu-like symptoms.
Most SMC students are well aware of the flu and are trying their best not to get it, especially during the stressful first few weeks of classes.
"I can't get sick right now," says SMC student Alex Chaverra. "It is the first week of school, and if I miss any class I get dropped. Ain't nobody got time for that."
There are a limited number of flu shots available in the health services office. The fee for the shot is $15 and there are a few allergy restrictions, including allergies to eggs or latex.
Some students avoid getting the vaccine because of the fear of the flu shot making them sick.
"I always thought that the flu shot was supposed to make it so that you don't get sick," says Christina Escalante, a first-year SMC student. "I didn't get the shot and I haven't gotten sick, but I bet if I would have, I would be sneezing and coughing right now."
The CDC reassures that the flu shot does not cause the flu. However, according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, rare symptoms can include fever, muscle pain, and feelings of discomfort or weakness, but these symptoms typically last only one to two days.
There are any number of reasons a person may contract the flu after receiving the flu shot.
According to the CDC, these include exposure to the flu prior to getting the shot, contracting an illness with flu-like symptoms, or exposure to a strain of the flu not included in the seasonal flu vaccine. Also, a person's health and age factors may cause them to become immune to the vaccine.
The good news is that, according to the CDC, this year's flu season peak is now over.