(NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)
Student Health Services offers students the choice of a flu vaccination or the nasal spray in order to prevent illness. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)

Coexisting with the busiest time of the academic year is flu season, and as students prepare for the end of the semester, they may also be fighting off the latest strain of the virus.

How a student gets the vaccine—whether through the shot or the nasal spray—is not important, according to the Center for Disease Control website. What is important is getting “an annual seasonal flu vaccine” because it “is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others.”

Both of these options, available free of charge at through Student Health Services, include the swine flu vaccine this year.

A live, weakened strain of the virus is administered through the nasal spray choice, whereas the shot option provides a killed version of the virus. Both serve the same purpose, though the nasal spray is only recommended for certain patients.

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People who get the flu shot cannot get the flu from the shot. Instead, the shot or spray causes the person to produce antibodies to fight off flu viruses.

Over 500 students received the flu shot on campus, according to LaShawne Jones, the secretary of the Health Education Department.

One of those students is senior applied mathematics and statistics major Steven Mouser, who got the flu shot because he finds the shot to be effective and thus gets it each year.

Freshman biology major Michelle Olakkengil felt parental pressure to get the shot. “My mom told me to [get it],” she said, adding she is not completely sure if it is effective.

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While the CDC recommends getting the flu shot before the season begins, which is as early as October and ends as late as May, the health center on campus will continue to offer it to students.

That does not mean, however, that students are interested.

Senior business management and operations major Danny McCartney did not get the flu shot this year but has gotten it in the past. He cited “no time” as his reason for not getting the shot, but added that he might get it after being reminded as he finds it a good way to prevent the flu.

And senior psychology major Diana Tavares does not find the flu shot necessary for normal healthy adults, but she believes that it can be good for the elderly and children with health issues. She did get the H1N1 vaccine a few years ago.

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