Flying through flu season: How to stay healthy in the coming months

Lafene Health Center offers affordable medical care along with other services to students, faculty and staff of Kansas State University. (Katelin Woods | Collegian Media Group)

Fall is here, and with its arrival comes cold weather, hot coffee, changing leaves and the flu.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu occurs year-round but peaks for 6-8 weeks in the fall and winter months.

Abby King, nursing coordinator at Lafene Health Center, said there are many ways for students to protect themselves and those around them from the influenza virus.

The number one way to prevent coming down with the flu is getting the vaccine every year.

“That’s going to be the number one way, and most important way, to protect against the flu,” King said. “Everyone six months and older should receive their flu vaccine every year.”

While there are different strains of the virus, flu vaccines protect against three or four of the most common types.

“Lafene offers the flu vaccine that covers four different viruses of the flu called the quadvalent,” King said.

According to the CDC, the flu vaccine can mitigate flu symptoms, doctor visits and missed days of school or work. The vaccine also helps prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

Another way to decrease chances of getting the flu is by limiting contact with other people. King reminded students to also cover coughs and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.

With students sharing desks and other objects around campus, King recommends wiping down surfaces and being aware that surfaces around them are not virus-free.

“Its not as likely for the virus to transfer through surfaces, but it still occurs,” King said. “It’s more of droplet is how it is transmitted.”

Droplet spread the virus when people cough, sneeze or speak.

“These droplets in your mouth or nose is how you become infected,” King said.

Flu vaccines will be available for students 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 6 in the K-State Student Union from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Without insurance, the vaccine costs $22.

Students can also contact Lafene for information on getting their vaccine.