By Joe Matteo
CCC Journalism Program
CHERRY HILL – The Cherry Hill campus of Camden County College offered free flu shots on Nov. 13.
The Cherry Hill campus was the last stop on a journey to 19 different locations by the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services. The trek started in Cherry Hill at the Crowne Plaza on Oct. 3 and ended last Wednesday in the same town it started in.
Influenza (flu) season in the United States is usually between October and May. It is possible for anyone to get the flu, but some groups of people have increased likeliness of contracting it. For example, certain health conditions put you in greater danger of getting the flu. Also, pregnant women, young children, infants, people older than age 65 and those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to the flu, according to material distributed at the location.
When the flu is contracted, the flu victim is at risk of getting bronchitis, sinus infections, pneumonia and ear infections among other ailments. If you already had cancer, diabetes or heart disease, the flu can make them worse. Some other ailments that can accompany the flu are fatigue, cough, headache, runny or stuffy nose, diarrhea, muscle aches, fever, chills and vomiting, according to the material.
The flu virus is always changing and with it the flu vaccine. Every year a new flu vaccine is created to protect against three or four viruses that are likely to cause disease in the flu season to come, according to the material.
One of the biggest concerns people have when contemplating getting a flu vaccination, or any vaccination for that matter, is the fear that they will contract the illness from the shot. Claudia Whitcraft, director of nursing for the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services, was quick to dispel this old wives’ tale. Whitcraft explained the shot is not a live virus. You don’t get the flu from the shot, that is a common misconception.
There are two different kinds of flu vaccines, Whitcraft said. One of the shots is for ages 4 and older and the other is for ages 65 and older. The shot for the elderly covers three different flu strains and has stronger antigens. The shot for ages 4 and older covers four different flu strains.
Albert Pisanelli attended free flu shot day on the Cherry Hill campus. Pisanelli said he has received a flu shot for the last four years. He said he believes you will be fine if you don’t get your flu shot but it is a little more important “if you are (often) around a lot of people.”
Sandra Delgado, who has worked at the flu shot stations for the county for the last 45 years, said there is usually a younger crowd in attendance for vaccinations at the college location. Delgado’s colleague, Damilola Adedeji, said he has been to eight of the sites and they have gotten good showings. He added the people were cooperative and the stations were well set up.
Gun Cho, another flu shot recipient, said he gets a flu shot every year and has had no side effects or problems from it. Cho was one of 42 patrons to receive their flu shot on the day, a 10 percent increase from last year’s total at the same location.