Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

It's Not Too Late to Get Your Flu Vaccine. Your Student Life for the week of 2/02/20 (Grad/Prof)

  • Dr. Gladys Gibbs Dr. Gladys Gibbs

I’m frequently asked, “Is it too late to get the flu vaccine?” The short answer is no. Flu viruses are detected year-round in the United States; however, flu season is typically fall and winter. Currently, flu activity is high and expected to continue for weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that in the United States, through mid-January, there will have been:

·         15 million flu illnesses

·         4.5 million medical visits

·         140 thousand flu hospitalizations

·         8.2 thousand flu-related deaths

The latest CDC influenza statistics are online.

Influenza is a significant health concern for both individuals and society. It affects school and work attendance, and daily productivity is greatly decreased when you are sick. If you contract the flu virus, you are likely to be less sick if you have gotten the flu vaccine.

People with the flu can spread it to others up to six feet away. You may be contagious up to one day before symptoms start and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. You are the most contagious in the first three to four days after the illness begins.

The CDC recommends four major actions you can take to prevent the flu:

1.    Get the flu vaccine. It can reduce your risk of getting the flu by 40% to 60%.

2.    Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your mouth or nose when you cough and sneeze, wash your hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

3.    Participate in other healthy habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat balanced foods.

4.    If you get the flu, stay home except to seek medical care. It will prevent others from getting sick.

You cannot get the flu by getting the flu vaccine. It mounts an immune response without causing infection. Some people do have mild reactions. The most common are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling at the injection site. Some people may get a low-grade fever, headache or muscle ache. These usually resolve in one to two days. The flu vaccine does not protect you from other respiratory viruses. It is not better to get the flu than the vaccine. The flu can be a very serious disease-causing complications and missed days from class and work.

Student Life Student Health Services provides the flu vaccine on a walk-in basis for all Ohio State students, faculty and staff. Students can also go online and schedule an appointment for the vaccine in the mass flu immunization programs. With some healthy habits and the flu vaccine, you may avoid getting sick and have a happy, healthy semester.

Also, I want to make sure you read the recent university-wide email about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Information from Ohio State will be updated regularly online. Your best strategies for prevention are the same steps that I offer in this message to avoid the flu. In fact, those steps are good hygiene practice at all times.

Stay healthy!


Gladys M. Gibbs, MD, MS
Director, Student Life Student Health Services

















Dave Isaacs