After a week long battle with the flu last year, David De Wit, a Biomedical Sciences major, says that not another year will go by that he doesn’t get a flu shot.

“I just assumed I would be fine, and that I probably had a high tolerance or good immune system to combat it,” De Wit said. “It started out as most [colds] do with symptoms like runny nose, dry throat, and coughing, but at a greater intensity. It then progressed to the point where I was completely weak, unable to get out of bed for at least a day or two. I mean I was completely unable to do anything besides rest.”

Getting a yearly flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from catching the flu. UCF Health Services encourages all students and faculty/staff to get a flu shot every year, echoing the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shots are free for students (while supplies last) and are $20 for faculty members and staff. Charges, if applicable, can be billed to your medical insurance.

Flu shot appointments can be made by calling the Health Center (407-823-3850), or students can come to a walk-in flu shot clinic on Thursday, Nov. 1, or Thursday, Nov. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside the Student Union, room 153.

“The symptoms of influenza, or the flu, can be quite severe,” says Kelly Roberts, physician at UCF Health Services. “Though it is rare for the flu to cause death in healthy adults, individuals with the flu typically miss three to seven days of work or school in order to get well again. That’s just not an option for many people.”

De Wit knows that fact all too well. “I was stuck in bed for days and had to take antiviral medications and keep a strict healthy diet,” De Wit said. “I was very fortunate to have friends looking after me, but not everyone is as fortunate.”

The ideal time frame to get vaccinated against the flu is in October or November. This allows time to build up immunity before flu rates peak in January and February.

Each year, 5 to 20 percent of the general U.S. population contracts the flu, according to the CDC. Health Services encourages those who have a fever, aches, chills, fatigue, cough, headache, or other cold-like symptoms to make an appointment at the Health Center. There is no office-visit fee for students enrolled in classes on the main campus, Rosen campus or College of Medicine campus. If it turns out you do have the flu, there are prescription medications that can help lessen the severity of symptoms.

“The quick visit to get a flu vaccine is well worth the time,” Roberts said.  “While there is a medication available for influenza, it does not significantly shorten the duration of time needed to recover from the flu.”

As for De Wit, he already got his flu shot for this season. “I would never want to relive that experience again,” he said.