Students, others get flu shots as season begins early

Dr. Christopher Belcher speaks about flu season. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Doctors are encouraging people not to miss out on the flu shot this year.

Stephanie Nahhas suffered the flu at the wrong time.

The Butler University junior was in the midst of finals week during her sophomore year in 2016, and she was sick.

“It wasn’t fun in the least,” said Nahhas.

This year, just six days into the flu season, Nahhas got an influenza shot.

“Colleges are great places to pick up influenza if that was your goal because people are crammed into dorms, close contact. They may be sharing in close proximity and can really wipe you out. Missing a week of class can hurt you,” said Dr. Christopher Belcher, a pediatric infectious disease specialist in Carmel affiliated with St. Vincent’s Hospital.

“Go ahead and get the flu shot. It is good for you and good for those around you,” Belcher continued.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the peak season for the flu starts in February, but cases are already popping up in central Indiana.

There is concern this flu season could be worse than usual.

Southern Hemisphere countries like Australia are used as a gauge to determine how bad a flu season will be in Northern Hemisphere nations like the United States.

Australia’s winter coincides with summer in the United States, and Australia had one of its worse flu seasons in 2017.

“They (Australia) had a bad time,” said Belcher. “People are concerned the flu can make a good foot hold here this year.”

Butler University is offering free flu shots for those on campus. This year Nahhas didn’t hesitate in getting her flu shot.

She explained why she made the decision early this year: “Just to prevent any ailments, so I don’t get sick while I’m trying to do school and study to be a student.”