WINTER is approaching and the start of the second block should see Wits students and staff members crowding the Wits Campus and Wellness Centre to get the flu vaccine.

The flu vaccine is injected annually to protect people against the highly variable influenza virus. According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases last year’s influenza season was 18 weeks long, which makes it one of the longest in the past 26 years.

The flu vaccine for this year’s influenza season contains three influenza viruses, namely, A (H3N2) virus, A (H1H1) virus and B virus, which when injected, the immune system gets used to and therefore prevents people from getting the influenza virus.

Head of Campus Health and Wellness Centre, Sister Yvonne Matimba, said: “Students who have been taking the vaccine should continue to do so…”

Matimba explained that the vaccine is to prevent the “influenza virus which is deadly” from entering the human body.

“With vaccination, a person is only at risk of getting a common cold which may cause a running nose and minor cough, but he is protected fully from influenza which causes sore joints, high fever and can kill,” she said.

Final year BA student, Mmathapelo Khutoane, has never taken the flu vaccine before. “I hardly ever get flu, even in winter but I would advise students to get vaccinated because keeping warm does not necessarily ensure that you won’t get sick,” she said.

Third year Psychology student, Michelle` Greaves said: “I take Vitamin C tablets from Clicks and therefore I don’t think I need to get the flu vaccine.

“People who are prone to colds and flu can exercise regularly to try and strengthen their bodies’ ability to fight off illnesses.”

Students and staff members who wish to get the flu vaccine can sign their names at the Campus Health and Wellness Centre at a cost of R50. Alternatively, the vaccine can be purchased at pharmacies for the same price and should be kept at a temperature of between two to eight Degrees Celsius.

“Each day is important in a student’s life and students miss out on a lot when they stay away from campus due to sickness, there for its better that they get vaccinated and then need not worry,” Matimba said.