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Flu Season is Quickly Approaching: What you need to know about influenza and the flu vaccine.

Flu season is quickly approaching. And for that reason, we will be holding a second flu shot clinic; this time at Lied Rec. On Tuesday, October 8th the Thielen Student Health Center staff will be offering flu vaccine for all Iowa State University student-athletes, student-managers, and athletic training students. This flu clinic will be done at the Lied Recreation Center from 1:00 PM to 5:00PM. You will need to bring you red ISU ID card to gain access to the clinic. We really want to increase awareness and decrease the myths that are associated with influenza (flu) and the flu shot.

Influenza or "the flu" is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Influenza is not related, in any way, to the stomach flu. The "flu bug" that people fall sick to in the winter is a gastrointesitinal (GI) illness that will generaly last as little as one day or for just a few days. This stomach flu is charactgerized by repeated bouts of vomiting and diarrhea on conjuction with other related symptoms. The respiratory infection of Influenza causes it to be much more severe and it is a significant concern for college student-athletes. Influeza illnesses generally peak in January, but are very common from December all the way through March and can extend into May. This is big reason why the flu vaccination is very important for athletes that have seasons extending into the winter or even more importantly; spanning the entire winter flu season.

Signs and Symptoms of Influenza (Flu)
MAY be any/all of the following:
  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills

  • Cough

  • Sore Throat

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue (feeling very tired)

  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

The flu spreads mainly through person to person contact or less often, can be spread by the touching of a surface that contains the flu virus. You may be able to pass the virus to someone else before you even know you are sick. Most health adults may be able to infect others beginning one day BEFORE symptoms even begin to develop and will remain contaigous for 5-7 days AFTER becoming sick. Influenza (flu) is a very serious on the college campus that you reside; and it is also serious for collegiate athletes. If you contract this virus, you may be out of acitivyt and competition for 1-2 weeks.

What is the best way to prevent the flu? The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season!

The vaccine is offered in two forms:
  • "Flu Shots" - these are intramuscular injections, usually done in the outside part of the shoulder.

  • "Flu Mist" - this is a nasal-spray flu vaccine that is made up of a live, but weakend flu virus. The virus in this vaccine does not cause the flu.

Both forms of vaccine cause the body to begin building antibodies (within 2 weeks) to protect against this year's anticipated influenza virus strains. The vaccine will protect you against three strains of influenza that global research suggests will be the most common. Even if the vaccine does not prevent you from contracting influenza; it will at least decrease the severity of the illness and keep you out of practice and competion for the fewest days possible.

If you have any further questions; ask you teams's athletic trainer. And mark it on you calanders to come to the flu shot clinic at Lied Rec from 1:00 to 5PM on Tuesday, October 8th.

All information was obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. The CDC is a great resource and can be found by clicking here.

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