The Student News Site of University of Nebraska at Kearney

The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

COVID-19 puts flu season on back-burner

Photo by Ryan Range Antigen testing is taking place along with COVID-19 testing during the month of November.          

In the midst of a pandemic, influenza remains a prevalent disease this time of year. Flu vaccinations and flu tests are available at the UNK Student Health clinic. 

Student Health officials deem the flu vaccination more important than ever in a pandemic.

“[The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is still saying if you haven’t gotten a flu shot, go get it, because you don’t want to be fighting, both and/or either one of them,” said Cindy Ferrence, the associate director of Student Health.

Influenza and coronavirus symptoms can be difficult to differentiate between.

Ferrence said loss of taste or smell is a big indicator of COVID-19. Meanwhile, it’s important to consider when a sick person might have been contacted and when symptoms started. It takes 2-14 days for an exposed individual to show COVID-19 symptoms.

Student Health has COVID-19 tests available for students free of charge, but flu tests are $20. Both entail the nasopharyngeal swab which involves swabbing up the nose canal.

The demand for flu tests has decreased on campus, according to numbers emailed by Wendy Schardt, the director of Student Health & Counseling. Last school year from Sept. 1-Jan. 31, 25 students were tested for influenza with 11 being positive. During the same timeframe this year, three tests were conducted, and all were negative.

When students contact Student Health with symptoms of both diseases, Student Health opts for the COVID-19 test over the flu test.

However, just because influenza is quiet in Nebraska, doesn’t mean it is ignored.

According to an email from Wendy Schardt, the director of UNK Student Health, 138 flu vaccines were issued during Sept. 1-Jan. 31 during the 2019-2020 school year. The clinic issued 108 vaccines during the same timeframe this school year.

These statistics still do not warrant careless treatment of the influenza virus.

“I think people forget we sometimes can have a late arrival of the flu,” Ferrence said. “If you look at the CDC and their influenza tracker, we are starting to see some of the southern states  Historically, sometimes it’ll hit south and then start making its way across the country too.”

Students can schedule an appointment for a vaccine at the Student Health clinic.

“Since I’ve gotten the flu shot, I’ve only had the flu once, and it wasn’t nearly as severe as before as I started getting it,” said Sophie Eberle, a UNK student and CNA. “My son’s immune system isn’t very strong. I get it every year at work.”

This opportunity is available to students who choose to utilize it. 

“I’m not against getting shots or anything like that,” said Jonathon Madison, a UNK student. “I don’t think it’s for me, which doesn’t mean that might not change in the future. But right now, I’m gonna’ stick with the fact that I haven’t gotten sick since the last time I got a flu shot.”

To schedule an appointment for a flu shot, students can call (308) 865-8218, or fill out the online form on the UNK Student Health web page.SV_0AiklZ7M3Rdd8J7

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Antelope

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Nebraska at Kearney . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
GRACE MCDONALD, Editor in Chief
Donate to The Antelope

Comments (0)

All The Antelope Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *