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COLUMBUS, Miss. – The 2021- 22 flu season is here. Campus health officials at Mississippi University for Women are stressing the need for everyone to get their flu shots.

“We encourage everyone to get the flu shot each year. We want to help keep our community as healthy as possible. We also want to help decrease the burden on the health care systems that have already been stretched in caring for patients with COVID 19,” said Dr. Tammie McCoy, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

While the impact of the flu season can be different from year to year, studies show that the flu vaccine can reduce the severity of its effects as well as hospitalizations.

McCoy said, “Last flu season was very mild, but experts are concerned that we may see increased flu activity this season especially as strict COVID-prevention measures, such as mask-wearing, social distancing and school closures, are being relaxed in many places. Flu is still a major public health threat and poses a risk to everyone, including healthy children, teens, adults and pregnant individuals.”

McCoy said everyone should receive a flu and COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their loved ones.

According to the CDC, it takes approximately two weeks to develop immunity after receiving the vaccination. The vaccination is recommended each fall to allow the immunity to continue throughout the entire flu season. Common side effects of the flu shot include: soreness, redness, and/or swelling at the injection site, fever, muscle aches, headache and nausea. The flu shot cannot cause flu (

“Every year, new flu vaccines are created to help protect against the flu viruses that research shows will be most common during the upcoming season. All available flu vaccines this year will be quadrivalent, which means they will provide protection from four circulating flu strains. There are also vaccines created specifically for older adults to help provide stronger immunity,” McCoy explained.

Flu symptoms include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, fatigue and occasional diarrhea and vomiting (more common in children), according to

The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following steps to stay healthy during the flu season:

  •  Wash hands often with soap and water
    •    Avoid close contact with others who show signs of illness
    •    Toss tissues in the trash after one use
    •    Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve—not your hands
    •    Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
    •    Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school
    •    Practice other good habits such as get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food

The W’s Campus Health Center operates from 8 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Nov. 22, 2021