by Madison V. Fisler
Nov. 4, 2013. The influenza virus explosion that the High Country suffered through most of the fall and all of the winter last year seems to be keeping its distance this year, according to pharmacist Corey Furman at Boone Drug on King Street.
“So far, what we have seen is a big improvement over last year,” Furman said. “Around this time last year, the flu was rampant around campus, students were missing exams, it was just awful. Last year, we were dispensing a lot of antiviral medications by now, and this year I personally haven’t dispensed any yet. I’m optimistic, but in years past we have seen it where the flu just comes out of nowhere.”
The rates in the High Country and in the rest of North Carolina are consistent with a lower incidence of influenza this year than last year, according to the Center for Disease Control. For more information from the CDC, please click here.
“From my location, I am seeing about the same number of people as last year receiving the shots,” Furman said.
According to Furman, the influenza vaccines are still effective against the virus even if the shots are received later in the fall.
“The CDC recommends that people get their flu vaccines as early as possible, and a lot of people think that it may wear off if they get it early, but we have discovered that the shots last a lot longer than we thought. It has been discovered that the effects may last up to ten months or more. There is still time to get vaccinated, but the sooner the better.”
Vaccines and nasal mist for the influenza virus are available now at many local pharmacies. Though everyone should consider vaccinating themselves against the virus, the elderly, children and anyone with health problems are the most at risk for contracting the flu this season.
The flu can cause mild to severe illness and in very rare cases can even lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year.
Pharmacies in the High Country are well stocked to vaccinate the population against the flu this year, and as of now there are plenty of vaccines to go around. At Boone Drug, the flu shots cost $23.99 each and are available at Boone Drug in Deerfield Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m and Boone Drug on King Street Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. No appointment is necessary, and walk-ins are welcome.
For Appalachian State University students, flu shots can be found at M.S. Shook Student Health Services. Shots are given out, no appointment necessary, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and 12:30-3:30 p.m. Students should be prepared to wait 20 minutes after administration of the vaccine for observation. Make sure to bring your AppCard, though, as you need it to receive any kind of services.
“From start to finish, the flu shot process is usually done within half an hour. There is a small wait time because of the paperwork and then we ask you to stay for about ten minutes for observation, just to make sure there is no allergic reaction,” said Furman.