Is it worth getting a flu shot so late in winter?

    A syringe filled with some fluid isolated on white background

    With flu season in full swing, students may be wondering if it’s too late to get the flu shot to fend off the virus.

    “We usually recommend that people get [the shot] earlier, but we offer it all the way until June,” said Krista Challes, a registered nurse at the University of New Brunswick Student Health Centre.

    According to Challes, the people who think the flu shot is unnecessary are the people who have not had the “real flu.” For this reason, it’s important that people keep the cold and flu symptoms in mind.

    According to a pamphlet from the Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness & Promotion, cold symptoms include runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat with the potential occurrence of general aches and pains, fatigue, weakness, chest discomfort and coughing.

    Flu symptoms, however, include fever, headache, general aches and pains, fatigue, weakness, coughing, chest discomfort, runny or stuffy nose and sore throat with the potential occurrence of sneezing. Some flu symptoms are also more severe than any of the cold symptoms.

    In addition, the cold “can lead to sinus congestion or earache,” while the flu “can lead to pneumonia, and respiratory failure; can worsen a current chronic condition; and can be life-threatening.”

    Fourth-year creative writing student Anthony Bryan recommended everyone take any precautions they can to prevent themselves from getting sick.

    “I usually get really sick once per semester. I stay home from class, eat soup and drink a lot of fluids,” he said.

    Stacey Taylor, a nurse practitioner at the UNB Student Health Centre, said the flu shot is one of the best ways to prevent getting and spreading the flu.

    However, fourth-year student Katie Morehouse is less than enthusiastic about the flu shot’s effectiveness.

    “Last semester, my entire family got the flu two weeks after my parents had received their flu shots. My parents initially got sick, then I got sick, then my husband, then my brother and his fiancée and baby,” she said.

    “I was so sick I was in bed for a whole week. I missed my classes and even had to miss work. I had to spend an extra couple of days afterward to recuperate because my body was so weak and dehydrated.”

    Challes claims that receiving the flu shot doesn’t guarantee immunity for the patient and only decreases the symptoms. Even then, not every shot is perfectly administered.

    Flu shots are offered at the UNB Student Health Centre for $15, but may be available for free under certain circumstances.

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