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Giving the flu the cold shoulder

You have a runny nose, a cough, chills and feel the start of a fever. These are all signs that point to the flu. The flu season is known to peak in January and February and with the semester work starting to build up, most cannot afford to be ill.

The first step that can be taken is to get a flu shot. According to the CDC, the flu vaccine is equipped to fight against three different strains of the flu, the most common.

Northampton Community College offers flu vaccines in the Health Center. It is located in the College Center Room 120. They are available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. The cost is $25 and cash and checks (payable to St. Luke’s Hospital) are acceptable form of payment. If there is no room in the budget, most cities will offer free vaccines at special times and locations. Search your city’s website to see when they occur.

Another step is to take everyday preventive measures to avoid infection. Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick. Avoid frequently touched surfaces that may be infected with the virus. Also make sure to wash your hands with water and soap but if not possible make sure the sanitizers you use are alcohol-based.

If you do get sick, there are also actions you can take to prevent the spread of germs. The CDC recommends that you stay home 24 hours after the fever is gone. The school also advises us to stay home and make sure to email your teachers. Most will be understanding and work with you. However, just make sure to take good care of yourself with a bowl of hot soup and medicine. More information can be found about Seasonal Influenza at www.cdc.gov.