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TJC ‘shoots’ down the flu this season

Waking up in the morning in absolute pain with a headache, stuffy nose and continuously singing to the toilet because of the flu is not a good feeling.    

In an effort to stop a flu epidemic from occurring at TJC, the college is giving out free flu shots to students.

“It’s a free vaccine,” said Stephanie Eijsink, M.D. at East Texas Medical Center First Physicians Clinic Tyler Junior College.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. Many individuals such as young children, senior citizens, and people with certain health conditions are susceptible for serious flu complications. The most effective way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

The 2011-2012 flu vaccine will protect against the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season, which is anywhere from late November through March. This includes an influenza A (H1n1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus.

“We want to keep the flu from spreading on campus,” said Eijsink.

Eijsink explained that the flu vaccine helps the human body build up its own antibodies. When the virus attempts to infect the body, the immune system will be strong enough to fight it off.

Many people think that they can get the flu from the vaccine. However, this accusation is false.

“You cannot get the flu from it. It’s a dead vaccine,” said Eijsink.

There are many ways the flu can spread. However, the most common way of getting the flu is by not practicing good hygiene.

“Wash your hands when you use the bathroom-don’t flush and rush,” said Shaquentha Griggs, a nursing major at TJC. “Students need to carry plenty of hand sanitizer.”

Students can also get the flu by sharing drinks, kissing, and being in a closed environment with a lot of people.

Stephen Crow, a student at TJC, explained how some students share their drinks and kiss their significant others who may have the virus. He believes that it would be great if all of the classes had tissues available for the students.

Eijsink explained that when the weather gets cold, people have the tendency to stay inside more often and sit around talking together, shaking hands more, and breathing in each other’s germs.

The main thing that separates the flu from the common cold is how fast it affects the human body.

“The flu hits your body fast, but the cold takes a lot longer to affect your body,” said Lori Black, a nurse practitioner at TJC.

If a TJC student has the flu, the student is immediately put on free anti-viral medicines provided by the school and sent home for at least a week.

“We have a mandatory quarantine time where students have to stay home for at least a week, and we notify all the teachers that the student has the flu,” said Eijsink.

According to www.imunize.org, the key symptoms for the flu are fever and chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, and a runny or stuffy nose. These symptoms can leave a person feeling miserable.

Griggs said, “I felt bad, I had to stay in bed a lot because of the flu.”

If a student experiences any flu-like symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

For more information about the flu and the flu vaccine, please call the TJC Clinic located on the second floor of the Rogers Student Center 903-510-2803. 

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