Stirling students are being encouraged to take advantage of a walk-in flu vaccination service on campus to prevent long periods of absence from illness.
Right Medicine Pharmacy in the Andrew Miller Building is offering a low cost flu vaccination service until next spring, when the virus is less prevalent.
Campus pharmacist Jonathan Burton says approximately a hundred people get the flu jab through his pharmacy each year.
“There are lot of students and staff who want to be protected against flu. Mostly because they don’t want to miss work or studies for extended period,” Burton says. “Unfortunately, if you get it [flu], you are unwell for at least a week or two”.
The risk of getting flu is slightly higher on campus as there are lot of people interacting within a small area. The campus pharmacy offers an easy way to avoid catching flu.
Its walk-in service requires no booking and the vaccination and necessary paperwork take just 5-10 minutes. The cost of the service is £11.95 and the vaccine will take effect in two weeks.
Flu season lasts usually from October to March. The best way to avoid flu is to have the vaccine early in the autumn. However, there is demand for the vaccination services after the New Year as well. “People will get it later in the season because they see colleagues and friends getting ill,” Burton explains.
Flu symptoms include sudden fever, muscle pain, headaches, chesty cough and runny nose. Even though flu has similar symptoms to common cold, it can be much more serious.
The vaccination is highly recommended for people in high risk groups: elderly, children, pregnant women and adults with underlying health conditions like asthma or diabetes. The NHS offers free vaccines to them because they are especially vulnerable to complications from flu.
“We catch quite a lot of people, who don’t know that they can get the vaccination for free. We then advise them to contact their GP or visit Airthrey Medical Centre”, Burton says. However, some of those eligible for a free vaccine choose to pay a small sum to get it quickly at the pharmacy.
The vaccine does not give a 100 percent protection against flu: even after having a vaccination, you can have flu like symptoms, but those are usually milder and last for fewer days than without having the vaccination. The vaccination does not provide protection against colds or coughs, but is the best way to combat flu.
Because the protection decreases and flu strains can be very variable, people are advice to have the new flu vaccine each year. The vaccine is specifically designed to match the types of the viruses that are more likely to cause flu each year, but the effectiveness of the vaccine is fully known only after the flu season ends.