Tightly closed eyes and clinched teeth awating the painful prick of a needle is a small sacrifices compared to lying on the bathroom floor too ill to move.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 36,000 people in the U.S. die each year from the flu, and many more are hospitalized because of it.

“If you are going to cough on people or are running a fever of 100.5 or more, you should stay home,” said Dr. Stephanie Eijsink, ETMC First Physicians Clinic at TJC.

But staying home is not that simple. Many courses have an attendance requirement, and beyond that, missing a class because of illness could cause a student to miss important information.

Ejisink said missing class, spreading illness and potential hospitalization can all be prevented by one simple solution – getting the flu shot.

The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine given through a needle typically in the arm that contains the most common strains of the flu predicted for that year.

“We give free flu shots to all students. Just bring in your student ID,” Eijsink said.

Getting the vaccination before feeling ill is essential. Often, people infected with the flu can start spreading the virus one to four days before they have any symptoms, which include headache, fever, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose or muscle aches.

Dr. Eijsink encourages anyone who is not feeling well to come in as soon as possible, “nothing is too trivial.”

“I was on campus when I got sick. It was nice that (the clinic) was right here and was free (to see the doctor),” said Vanessa Hiles, a sophomore.

The clinic is open 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located on the second floor of Rogers Student Center.

“The staff was very helpful and understanding,” said student Brian Keese.

Both of these students agreed that the clinic was convenient and great for students who would otherwise not be able to see a doctor because of the high cost of medical care.

“This may be the only time in your life you will ever have free health care,” said

Eijsink.

The fee for the clinic is paid in every student’s admission. Students must pay for prescriptions along with X-rays and any labs that might be needed.

The clinic staff is also available to give advice and to help students stay healthy, even if a student is suffering from a common illness such as stress.

A few more tips Dr. Eijsink gave to stay healthy were to wash hands regularly and to cut back on sweets and carbs.

“Do not share things, food, drinks, razors, towels. I wish I could say share everything, but I can’t. That is an important part of staying healthy on campus,” said Eijsink.

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