Richland to offer flu vaccinations

Flu season is just around the corner and officially begins in October, according to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC). Before the flu can wreak havoc through schools and businesses, however, Richland is offering students several opportunities to get the flu shot. The first is on Sept. 19 in El Paso Hall, Room E088. The vendors will return periodically through Nov. 6. The cost of the vaccine is $28 if not covered by insurance.

Insurance accepted by the vendors include Aetna, BCBS, Cigna, Humana, Medicare (with some exceptions) and United Health Care. Students must bring photo ID as proof of being at least 18 years old. Those under 18 should bring proof of parents’ or a guardian’s consent, such as a signed letter.

The vaccine is intended to protect against flu and is expected to last for six months.

“It depends on the strands that [the suppliers are] covering for. There are a lot of variability factors,” said Chance Reaves, one of Richland’s nurses. “[Results] depend on storage, administration, personal immunity, [or] if you’re sick at the time.”

Regardless of the flu shot’s consistency, medical experts advise it is still a good idea to get the vaccine.

“The earlier you get it the better,” said Reaves. “What happens is that as the season goes on more cases of flu show up which means more opportunity to be exposed without being properly immunized.” The vaccine will protect or lessen the effects of flu on those who receive the vaccine, he said.

Reaves offers some other tips for avoiding the flu. “Wash your hands. All the time. Avoid touching people you know have the flu [and] be proactive. If you think you have the flu, go see the doctor, get tested and stay away from other people so you don’t spread it,” said Reaves.

For those with allergies, those who are pregnant or nursing, check with your doctor before getting the shot. There is also a form of the flu shot that can be given to those who are allergic to eggs.

“Typically, flu shots are safe, but you have to follow the discretion of your doctor,” Reaves said. “If there is any type of concern, check with health professionals.”

Reaves adds that students can also get the flu shot at other locations including the City of Garland Public Health Clinic, a doctor and some pharmacies.

According to Reeves, a slight fever, headache or muscle aches could arise after receiving the shot but should be short-lived.