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Fend off Influenza
The advent of flu season already has lines of students and locals at the pharmacy desk seeking preventative treatment to brave the seasonal ailment.
Campus Care began administering flu vaccines to students at the end of September or early October, which is the time centers typically see flu cases trickle in, said Amanda Fox, nursing supervisor at Campus Care.
The student health center only administers the vaccination in the form of a shot, which carries a $30 price tag. The other form, a nasal spray, is not offered at the center. The former releases a dead virus, but the spray releases a live virus and can cause flu-like symptoms post-vaccination.
Both CVS pharmacies, at 32 S. Court St. and 555 E. State St., as well as the pharmacy at Kroger, 919 E. State St., only administer the shot form of the vaccine.
Nasal sprays are typically for children, but CVS pharmacists are unable to administer the vaccine to anyone under 14, according to a pharmacist at the South Court Street CVS.
CVS offers the vaccine for $31.99, while Kroger offers it for $25. Prices vary for students and Athens residents using health insurance to cover the vaccine.
Fox said it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to become effective and that it does not prevent all strains of the flu. However, she said the vaccine is recommended for college students.
“It’s up to the providers, and I do believe they recommend it most of the time to most people to get a vaccine just because of living in dorms and close-knit areas; it’s easy for people to spread (the flu),” Fox said.
So far, however, this year’s flu season appears to be mild. By Nov. 10, Ohio, along with 46 other states, experienced minimal influenza-like illness activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. The proportion of visits to doctors for influenza-like illness activity is below the national baseline, according to the site.
“I have not seen anything to say that this flu season will be bad,” Fox said. “I haven’t seen anything predicting that anyone is predicting it’s going to be horrible.”
Fox added that Campus Care already has had a number of students visit the center seeking a vaccination, though she does not have an idea of exactly how many vaccinations the center has administered.
Kroger’s pharmacy has also seen a number of people requesting the vaccine, said Jennifer Emerson, one of the store’s pharmacists.
Emerson added that October and November are when the pharmacy is busiest administering vaccines. Kroger’s pharmacy, as well as the pharmacy at CVS, provides vaccinations to people during normal business hours.
“A bunch of people have been very proactive this year to get their vaccination,” she said. “Last year, we had an abundance left over.”