Influenza & Flu Vaccine

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can even lead to death. Some people, such as the elderly, young children, infants, and people with certain health conditions (like asthma, diabetes, heart and lung disease and pregnant women) are at high risk complications from the flu. But, anyone can get the flu, and getting a flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and the people around you. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to friends and loved ones. According to the Center for Disease Control, everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu every year.

In 2009-2010, a new and very different flu virus (called 2009 H1N1) spread worldwide causing the first flu pandemic in more than 40 years. Now, the flu vaccine will protect against H1N1 and other influenza viruses that researchers have predicted will be prevalent this year. The flu itself is unpredictable. While flu activity usually peaks in January-March, it can last as late as April or May.

Both the Flu vaccine and Flu Mist (nasal spray flu vaccine) are available to all students, staff, and faculty. Cost is only $15.00 for the vaccine (attenuated virus) or $25.00 for the nasal spray (live virus). We accept cash, check, or we can bill it to your student account. In addition, we also hold outdoor and indoor flu clinics throughout the flu season at both the main undergraduate campus and the Law School to make accessibility easier for you.

Please call the Student Health & Wellness Center at 562.464.4548 to schedule an appointment for your vaccine. The ideal time to schedule your flu vaccine is October or November. Remember, getting the flu vaccine is simple, and it's the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Read Flu 101: College Survival TipsJorge P. Parada, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, Loyola University, MC).

Complications of the Flu

Complications from the flu may include: sinus infections, ear infections, viral or bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, myositis (muscle inflammation), pericarditis (inflammation around the heart sac) and even death. The flu can also make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience more asthma attacks or a worsening of their asthma while they have the flu.

Influenza Declination Form

Download theInfluenza Declination Form

Flu Vaccine Myths & Facts

There are lots of myths about flu and flu vaccines which make it difficult to get people vaccinated every year. Here are some common myths and facts.

MYTH: The flu shot can cause the flu.
FACT: The flu shot cannot cause the flu, there's no way. It is a killed virus. Most people generally do not experience any side effects from the influenza shot. When side effects do occur, they are usually mild. The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot is given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches may also occur. Flu season coincides with a time of year when bugs causing colds and other respiratory illnesses are in the air. Many people get the vaccine and then, within a few days, get sick with an unrelated cold virus.

MYTH: The flu isn't a serious disease.
FACT: Influenza (flu) is a serious disease, not just a mild illness. It affects the nose, throat, and lungs and it can lead to pneumonia. But the flu makes you very sick. Each year, about 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized and about 36,000 people die because of the flu. That's close to the number of women killed by breast cancer each year, and more than twice the number of people killed by AIDS. We need to take the flu seriously.

MYTH: The flu shot does not work.
FACT: Most of the time, the flu shot will prevent the flu. In scientific studies, the effectiveness of the flu shot has ranged from 70% to 90% when there is a good match between circulating viruses and those in the vaccine. Getting the vaccine is the best protection against the disease.

MYTH: The side effects are worse than the flu.
FACT: The worst side effect you're likely to get from a shot is a sore arm. The nasal mist might cause nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat and cough. The risk of a severe allergic reaction is less than 1 in a million.

MYTH: Only older people need a flu vaccine. If you're young and healthy, you don't need to worry about it.
FACT: Adults and children with conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease need to get a flu shot but we should all get the seasonal flu vaccine. Sure, if you're in good health, you'll probably recover from the seasonal flu just fine. But why suffer through the flu if you can avoid it? Second, protecting yourself isn't the only reason to get vaccinated. Healthy adults forget that while they themselves might be at low risk for getting serious flu complications, other people in their family might not. If you have a small child at home, or an older parent, your failure to get yourself vaccinated could endanger them-that's true on a larger, societal level. People with the weakest defenses, like children under 6 months, can't get the flu vaccine. Their safety depends on the rest of us getting immunized.

MYTH: You must get the flu vaccine before December.
FACT: the flu vaccine can be given before or during the flu season. The best time to get vaccinated is October or November. But you can also get vaccinated in December or later if you did not do so earlier in the season.

MYTH: Antibiotics can fight the flu.
FACT: Antibiotics only fight bacterial infections. Flu -- whether it's typical seasonal flu or swine flu -- is not caused by bacteria, but by a virus. So antibiotics have absolutely no effect on any kind of flu. However, there are instances of flu complications that involve a bacterial infection. The flu virus can weaken your body and allow bacterial invaders to infect you. Secondary bacterial infections to the flu include bronchitis, ear infections, sinusitis, and most often, pneumonia.

MYTH: If you get the flu once, you can't get it again during that flu season.
FACT: Many people assume that if they've had the flu recently, they can't get it again and thus don't need to get the vaccine. That's not the case because flu infection can happen from more than one strain of virus. In any flu season, there's usually both Type A and Type B influenza in circulation. Both can cause the flu and it's quite possible that you could get infected with one type and then the other. So if you've already had the flu, you should still get the vaccine.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control website for more information on the flu.

Information provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) 

TTY: (888) 232-6348, 24 Hours/Every Day