Free Flu Shot Clinicfor the MU community

Ashley Barletta, News editor

The annual flu shot clinic occurred on Monday, Oct. 25, but will also take place tomorrow, Oct. 28 in the Student Union. Lake Erie College of Medicine (LECOM) provided the flu vaccine to faculty, staff and students with no required appointment.

Strains of the influenza virus are constantly changing, so there is no guarantee that anyone will be safe against contracting it. Each year, a different vaccine must be developed to counteract the most prevalent strain of the virus for that season.

That being said, one flu shot will not protect you from the numerous strains that are circulating. To maximize your protection against the influenza virus, it is strongly recommended that you get the flu vaccine every year.

An email sent to all of the Mercyhurst community stated that “Some in our community have preexisting health conditions that increase their risk for hospitalizations, other conditions associated with the flu (e.g., pneumonia), and complications believed to be associated with COVID-19. Your choice to obtain a flu shot is a preventive measure that helps vulnerable members of our community.”

Getting the flu vaccine not only helps you to put your own mind at ease, but it also decreases the chances of the virus spreading.

“Remember that masking, hand sanitation, and social distancing all help reduce not only the risk of COVID-19 but also the risk of flu and other infectious illnesses during the year,” said Judy Smith, Mercyhurst Executive Director of Wellness.

It is getting colder outside, so it is important to wear weather-appropriate clothing, which can also help prevent the contraction of the common cold, which is also constantly changing.

It is vital that as many people as possible get their flu shot, especially because we are still in a global pandemic. Many COVID-19 symptoms are the same as flu

symptoms, so it is also important that we all take extra care to wash

our hands and sanitize frequently-touched surfaces.

“The symptoms of each illness can overlap, and both can even occur at the same time, making it difficult to know what is really going on. The only way to rule out COVID-19 is to test for it once the symptom(s) appear–don’t wait for them to get worse,” said Smith.

If you feel yourself developing symptoms of a cold, the flu or COVID-19, get tested for COVID-19 right away. Since many of the symptoms for each illness are the same, it is better to know what your ailment is than to guess.

“Mercyhurst provides some on-campus testing Monday through Friday for symptomatic students who have a referral from one of the COVID19 response team and/or Health Center staff,” Smith said. We can also help students locate testing sites in the community. Students can call the COVID-19 hotline at 814-824-3600 or contact the Cohen Student Health Center (open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) for more information. We do not advise relying on testing kits purchased in a drug store.”

If you are not able to make it to either of the flu shot clinics hosted by Mercyhurst, CVS also provides flu shots as long as you have insurance.

Mercyhurst students, please be safe during this time. Wash your hands, keep your surroundings clean and get your flu shot if you can!