Each year influenza affects millions of people and hospitalizes thousands. In the 2017 to 2018 season, Kansas State saw 72 confirmed cases of the flu by January.
This year Lafene Health Center is encouraging the K-State community to get vaccinated with a raffle for $10 gift cards to restaurants around Manhattan and other assorted prizes. By Oct. 9, Lafene said they administered more than 300 flu vaccinations, which is nearly three times the amount they administered during that period last year.
Abby King, nursing coordinator at Lafene, said the promotional program hopes to encourage the public to get vaccinated and to educate them about actions that prevent the spread of flu through a community.
“Last year’s incentives were social media based with online interactions receiving rewards such as mugs and hats,” King said. “Every year we push students and staff to get vaccinated.”
As for reasons given for more students getting vaccinated, King said many students have shared their desire to avoid the flu this season.
“Its hard to tell if its based on the number of those sick or who died from the flu last year,” King said.
King said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people get vaccinated in October.
“The vaccines takes about two week to build up antibodies in your system,” King said.
Those who have medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease or have a weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of having the flu, the CDC reports.
Additionally, those who are younger than five or women who are pregnant are at higher risk as well.
King said since the symptoms of the flu occur suddenly in the form of sore throat, stuffy nose, fatigue or chills, students exhibiting such symptoms are encouraged to get an appointment at Lafene immediately.
“If students are unable to get to Lafene they can speak with a nurse on the phone about their symptoms and get in that day if they have symptoms of flu,” King said.
Lafene can administer antiviral medications that can reduce the symptoms and help the body fight off the virus, King said.
In addition to getting the vaccination, there are a few other avenues students can take to avoid getting the flu. The CDC recommends individuals avoid close interactions with those who have the flu virus and wash their hands frequently throughout the flu season.
“Students can help prevent getting the flu by maintaining a healthy diet, sleep and exercise,” King said.
Lafene welcomes walk-ins weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 1:30-4:30 p.m. People can get vaccinated at Lafene for $22 with a student ID or $25 for non-students. Most insurance providers cover that cost of the vaccination.