As the flu season officially arrives, University of Georgia health experts are urging students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated against influenza.
“We’re already seeing signs that this flu season could be significant, so we’re urging everyone in the UGA community to take advantage of the simple and easy process to receive a flu shot this year,” said Jen Swails, interim executive director of the University Health Center and co-chair of the university’s Medical Oversight Task Force. “The flu shot is one of the most significant ways you can minimize contracting the flu and protect those around you.”
The University Health Center has kicked off its annual #FluGA campaign and is offering the flu vaccine with no appointment necessary for all members of the university community from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the UHC Pharmacy.
Flu shots are available to UGA students, student spouses, current faculty and staff and their dependents (13 years and older) and retired faculty. A flu shot is free for those who bring a UGA ID and current insurance card. A flu shot will cost $50 for those who are uninsured. Appointments can also be made by phone in the Allergy/Travel Clinic by calling 706-542-5575.
In addition to receiving a flu vaccine, precautionary measures such as wearing face coverings and consistent hand washing can go a long way to protecting against influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 5 to 20 percent of Americans get the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year from flu-related health complications.
If patients are eligible, both flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered during the same visit. The UHC continues to provide COVID-19 vaccinations free of charge to faculty, staff and students and their dependents over age 16. Booster shots are also available to for those who received their second dose at least six months ago. To date, the UHC has administered nearly 29,700 vaccines to members of the UGA community.
The flu vaccine is also readily available at local pharmacies, clinics and primary care physicians’ offices. The Georgia Department of Public Health offers a HealthMap Vaccine Finder on its website.
The UHC offers the following tips to prevent the flu:
- Get a flu shot. The best way to prevent the flu is to be immune to the viruses. If you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, you should still get one.
- Practice good hand hygiene by either hand washing with soap and water or by using alcohol-based gels.
- Do not touch your face, eyes or mouth unless your hands are clean.
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing. An uncovered cough or sneeze can project respiratory droplets 3 to 6 feet or more.
To treat the flu, the UHC suggests:
- Stay home if you are sick. A good rule of thumb if you have the flu is that you should stay home as long as you have a fever. You can return to school or work if you are fever-free for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicines.
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing. Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
- If you live in a residence hall, consider going to your permanent home until you have recovered.
- Take medication to relieve the symptoms of flu.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Avoid using alcohol and tobacco.
For additional flu vaccine information, visit the UHC’s influenza webpage.