This year’s flu season has been tougher than most, but there’s still time to get a flu shot. UNM Students can receive a free flu shot at SHAC in dedication to "Take One for Raymond," an initiative began by the parents of former UNM student Raymond Plotkin, who passed away from the H1N1 virus in 2009.
For those wondering if the flu shot is worth the time here are a few facts:
- Per the CDC, "The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated, but good health habits can help stop the spread of germs."
- The CDC also says that the past five flu seasons have lasted about 16 weeks, with the longest duration being 20 weeks. Currently, this flu season is reported to be at week 11 having started early with the potential to last longer. At the beginning of the year, the Department of Health reported that flu activity has increased around New Mexico—double what it was last year.
- While most who contract the flu virus may recover within a few days, some will go on to have a more severe case that could lead to hospitalization and even death.
- The New Mexico Department of Health reported that by mid-Jan, 18 adults died from the flu, with 72 other individuals cause of death being pneumonia brought on by the flu. The CDC estimates there are tens of thousands of deaths each year from flu and pneumonia.
The CDC recommends six flu prevention tips besides getting a flu shot:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when sick.
- Cover mouth and nose with mask.
- Clean hands. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth.
- Practice good health habits. For example, clean/disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
For more information on flu prevention, when to call a doctor and facts, visit the CDC Website and the UNM Health Sciences webpage.
Call SHAC at 505-277-3136 to schedule an appointment for a flu shot.
Individuals within the community can get a flu shot at local pharmacies. To discover the closest flu vaccine providers visit the CDC Flu Vaccine Finder.