With the chilly fall winds of October, also come the sneezes and sniffles of Flu Season. This annually recurring period usually runs its course between October and May, with an increase of cases ramping up when the weather gets cold. Trying to help reduce flu cases on campus, Lipscomb’s Pharmacy Department is hosting Bison Flu Fest, which offers vaccinations at little to no cost to students.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there were 37 to 43 million flu cases last year in the United States, with children and pregnant women being at the highest risk. However, Elizabeth Melby, a junior in the nursing program, says this time of year can also be dangerous for college students. On a busy campus like Lipscomb, students may be carriers without knowing it, and the close proximity only increases the risk of contracting the flu. “College students aren’t sleeping as much and have high-stress levels, so their immune systems have to work a little harder to keep up with the stressful environment. If even one student goes to class sick, then everyone else that sat in that chair can potentially spread the virus. Things like the flu spread easily that way.”

As a result, the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences is working to protect the Lipscomb community with the Bison Flu Fest, a solution is more simple than you may think and readily available on campus. During the event which takes place on Wednesday, October 9th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., certified student pharmacists and physician assistants will be giving free flu shots in Bison Square. Their goal: to vaccinate 500 people against the flu in a single day.

“The point of the Bison Flu Fest is to give everyone easy access to the shot. It only takes a matter of seconds,” said Melby. “When you get a flu shot, it gives your body the tools that it needs to fight off the virus before you’re ever affected. And, the more people that get it, the more protected our campus is from the flu.”

Ultimately, the flu shot isn’t guaranteed to keep you from catching the flu. Anyone is susceptible to the virus, no matter how healthy you may think you are. However, studies show that the flu vaccine can significantly lower your risk and even reduce the severity of your symptoms if you do get it. The CDC also claims that it can take up to two weeks to build immunity to influenza after getting the vaccine. This means the best time to get a flu shot is now, before the spread of cases really starts.

“There are a lot of different strands of the flu and each year there’s a new vaccine that’s meant to cover and fight the most common strands of that year,” Melby noted. “That’s why it’s so important to get a new one every year.”

All you need on Wednesday, October 9th to get your free vaccine is proof of insurance. Without insurance, flu shots are available at the same event for $20 each. For more information or questions about Lipscomb’s vaccine clinics, email healthservices@lipscomb.edu or call 615.966.7189.

Photo courtesy of Lipscomb University

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