According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever. A flu vaccine can help protect yourself, your family, and your community and help reduce pressure on our healthcare system. The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccination in September or October.
VT News: Amid pandemic, flu shot more important than ever
Can physical distancing and wearing face coverings in public decrease the spread of the flu?
Is it possible to have both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?
Cynthia Morrow, who is co-leader of the Health Systems Science and Interprofessional Practice domain at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine answers these questions and more about the flu.
Ways to get a flu shot
The latest flu shot clinics will continue to be shared on this site.
- Students may contact Schiffert Health Center at 540-231-6444 to schedule a flu shot.
- Vaccinations are available at most local pharmacies and through health care providers.
- State health plan members may get a free flu vaccine at pharmacies participating in their health plan’s network.
- COVA Care, COVA HDHP, and COVA HealthAware members also may receive shots at no cost from network physicians’ offices and other participating providers.
- Kaiser Permanente HMO members must go to a participating Kaiser medical center.
- Optima Health members will receive flu shots at no cost from network participating pharmacies. To find participating pharmacies, call the number on the back of your ID card.
COVID-19: Virginia Tech Updates
How to Prevent the Cold and Flu
Flu symptoms may include
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Extreme fatigue
- Muscle aches and pains
- Stomach problems, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (more common in children)
Tips to prevent flu
- Get your flu shot. Virginia Tech offers flu shot clinics for students and employees throughout the fall.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. You can use hand sanitizer when not near a sink.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. Viruses that make you sick can enter your body through your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid contact with people who are ill. If you are sick keep your distance from others and stay home when possible.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces – like doorknobs, handles, phones, and your Hokie Passport – to help remove germs.
- Don’t share any personal items, particularly things that come into contact with body fluids, such as eating utensils, drinking glasses, dishes, and anything that can be consumed, or fitness equipment.
- Practice good health habits: get plenty of sleep, eat nutritious foods, stay hydrated, manage stress, stay physically active, avoid smoking or vaping, and alcohol. Taking care of your body strengthens your immune system and helps it fight off illness.
The flu is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a common group of viruses (influenza viruses). In the U.S., flu season begins every fall and ends every spring, when an average of 5 to 20 percent of the population will show signs of infection. The flu that people so often get during that season is called seasonal flu. Most people who get seasonal flu recover within a week or two and do not require medical treatment. The very young, the very old and the very sick are most likely to become seriously ill.
The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year.
Sometimes, a new type of flu virus may emerge to which people have no resistance. When this happens, it can spread more easily from person to person around the world in a very short time, causing serious illness and death. This is pandemic flu. It is more serious than seasonal flu. Pandemic flu is different because more people who get it might not recover, even with medical treatment, and people of every age may be at risk of serious illness or death. Unlike seasonal flu, there may not be a vaccine for pandemic flu until researchers and pharmaceutical companies are able to create one.
How the flu spreads
Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person when people with influenza cough, sneeze, or touch things that others touch. People infected with common flu virus can spread it to others one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or more days after becoming ill. That means that you may be able to pass the flu to someone before you know you are sick and after you start to feel better.