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The flu shot: Do you really need it?

Photo courtesy of parade.com

Photo courtesy of parade.com

Influenza season is in full swing in Ohio, and healthcare professionals are strongly encouraging residents to get vaccinated to prevent further spread of the virus.  

According to Karen Schroeder, director of the ONU Health Center, over 1,300 vaccines are administered by the health center each flu season. 

Although the ONU Health Center has distributed its entire supply of flu shots for the 2013-2014 season, shots are still available at many pharmacies, including Rite Aid, Wal-Mart and CVS. Depending on an individual's insurance provider, shots may be covered up to 100 percent. 

Flu season typically runs from late November through early March with isolated cases occurring before and after the usual season. Flu symptoms include high fevers, body aches, headaches, coughing and runny nose. Symptoms may last up to a week with the most severe ailments occurring around the fourth day. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a total of 40 states, including Ohio, have reported widespread flu activity. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) website states influenza-associated hospitalizations in Ohio are higher than in the past three years, with the most flu-related hospitalizations occurring in the northeast and east central Ohio regions. 

Although the CDC recommends that all persons six months or older get vaccinated against the flu, skeptics still abound. 

Schroeder dispels one myth surrounding the flu shot by saying "the ONU Health Center administers roughly 1,300 flu shots per year on campus. If the flu shot actually made people sick, I think the health center would have a much higher number of infected individuals returning after receiving the shot."

More information on influenza activity in Ohio can be found by visiting the ODH website at www.odh.ohio.gov. More information about the ONU Health Center, including hours of operation and services offered, can be found by visiting www.onu.edu/student_life/health_center.

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Opinion

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