According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Land of Lincoln and the rest of the nation are experiencing an earlier flu season with high influenza-like illness activity.
DeKalb County has seen increased visits to the emergency department for influenza-like illness.
Students need not worry. NIU Health Services has the 2012-2013 influenza vaccine (injection). More than 450 students already have received the vaccine from Health Services.
Flu shots are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday on a walk-in basis; no appointment is necessary.
Shots costs $23. For those with Student Health Insurance, the insurance is billed directly by Health Services. For those with private insurance, students can receive invoices to submit to their providers.
Cost can also be paid by cash, check, MasterCard, Visa or billed to a bursar’s account.
Health Services staff also are being proactive, placing ads in the Northern Star and distributing flyers across campus and in the residence halls to publicize the availability of the vaccines and to emphasize the “3Cs”:
- Clean – properly wash hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. This is the simplest way to prevent the transmission of cold and flu viruses.
- Cover – cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow. If you use a tissue, throw it out.
- Contain – stay home if you are sick.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.
- The “seasonal flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May.
- Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination.
- The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against influenza as soon as flu season vaccine becomes available in their community.
- A flu vaccine is needed every year because flu viruses are constantly changing.
- Antibodies made in response to vaccination with one flu virus can sometimes provide protection against different but related viruses.
- In 18 of the last 22 U.S. influenza seasons the viruses in the influenza vaccine have been well matched to the predominant circulating viruses.
Health Services is located on the corner of Lucinda Avenue and Wirtz Drive, behind the Police and Public Safety Building. For more information, call (815) 753-9585 or email [email protected].