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Flu season is coming: Get your free shot at UTRGV

By Monika Garza | THE RIDER

A UTRGV student receives a flu shot last Thursday at The Tower on the Brownsville campus. Flu shots are free for students; faculty and staff must bring their insurance card. The immunization is available from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at its clinics, located in Cortez Hall 237 on the Brownsville campus and at 613 N. Sugar Rd. on the Edinburg campus./Ana Cahuiche/The Rider
A UTRGV student receives a flu shot last Thursday at The Tower on the Brownsville campus. Flu shots are free for students; faculty and staff must bring their insurance card. The immunization is available from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at its clinics, located in Cortez Hall 237 on the Brownsville campus and at 613 N. Sugar Rd. on the Edinburg campus./Ana Cahuiche/The Rider

The UTRGV Health Services Clinics are administering free flu shots for the campus community from 8 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday while supplies last.

“Any time during that time period they can come by and get the flu vaccines updated,” UTRGV Physician Assistant Steven Machner said.

Nursing freshman Marlene Hernandez said she did not know where to get the flu vaccine and now that she knows that UTRGV is providing them, she will get it.

“It’s really helpful for people that don’t know where to [get] them,” Hernandez said. “Now that I know, I will take it.”

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Machner said the best way to prevent contracting the flu virus is to get vaccinated.

“If you don’t get the flu vaccine, keep your distance from anybody that is coughing, sneezing and looks ill, and wash your hands frequently,” he said.

Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and March, although activity can last as late as May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. However, Machner said the earlier you get vaccinated, the better.

The UTRGV community is encouraged to get vaccinated at the Health Services Clinic, located on the Edinburg and Brownsville campuses.

“The flu vaccines are free to UTRGV students while supplies last, so it’s better to get it sooner. Staff and faculty can also get theirs updated through Health Services. We just need a copy of their active insurance card,” Machner said.

Annual vaccination against influenza is recommended for those six months or older, according to the Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services website.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches and headaches.

Those who think they have the flu should distance themselves from other people and get tested.

“It’s important to get tested early because it helps to reduce the effects of the flu,” Machner said. “So, get into a clinic and get tested.”

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