Tuesday, November 29, 2022

UM Community Encouraged to Get Flu Shot

Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Flu season is here, and it is important for the University of Mississippi campus community to take the necessary preventative steps to mitigate the spread and severe illness.

Dr. Hubert Spears, staff physician at Employee Health Services, has shared that public health experts predict that this flu season could be particularly bad. 

Countries in the Southern Hemisphere are just finishing up a more severe flu season, which in the past, has forecasted the subsequent season in our Northern Hemisphere.

Spears’s research on the topic has revealed that because of the low rate of flu throughout the world the past two years (due in part to masking and social distancing), we have not had our usual exposure to influenza viruses and our immunity has waned. 

With several companies producing flu vaccines, it can be hard to choose what is best for you. The good news is that no matter which vaccine you choose, you are being protected against the same strains for this season’s virus.

Spears states that there are three choices recommended for people aged 65 and over and for the immunocompromised: 

  • high-dose egg-based inactivated (Fluzone),
  • the adjuvanted egg-based inactivated (Fluad) and
  • the recombinant (Flublok)

There is a nasal spray option (FluMist Quadrivalent) that is a live attenuated vaccine, meaning it contains weakened versions of the flu viruses instead of inactivated viruses. However, it is not safe for asthmatics, children and adolescents taking aspirin, people with cochlear implants, and several other conditions. Due to these complexities, the decision to take the inhaled vaccine should be made with a medical provider.

Pharmacy Health, Student Health, and Employee Health Services can provide the flu vaccine for you on a walk-in basis. The current vaccines we are offering are the Fluarix Quadrivalent and the FluLaval Quadrivalent. If you start experiencing symptoms of flu, call Employee 662-915-6550 or Student Health at 662-915-7274 to schedule an appointment for testing and treatment options including antivirals.

The CDC recommends these tips and more for staying healthy during flu season:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • Practice proper hand hygiene and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth 
  • Stay home when you are sick

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