It’s October which means haunted houses, jack o’ lanterns, and scary stories for all. But there’s a new ghoul on campus, and its name is influenza. That’s right, it’s flu season, and as such you should be prepared to fight off sickness so you can get to class without feeling like a human trainwreck.

Although flu season peaks in December, doctors recommend getting your vaccine in October. Dr. Sam Mitchell, Director of Medical Services at MSU, states that getting your vaccine leads to a “40 percent chance you won’t get the flu.” There’s also two variations of the vaccine: an injection and a mist. Mitchell also urges students to get the injection rather than the mist if they are planning on getting vaccinated. Other ways to avoid the flu include washing hands frequently and avoiding people who are already sick.

Worried you might already have it? Typical flu symptoms include a high fever, usually 100 degrees or higher, coughing and general achiness or fatigue. Less common symptoms include headaches and nausea. According to the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, there were over 10,000 reported cases of the flu in Montana last year. Mitchell states that there have already been a few reported cases in Helena this year and one confirmed case on campus.

If you have one or more of these symptoms, stay home and don’t go to class, as you don’t want to risk getting anyone else sick. Don’t worry about heading to the doctor’s office unless you’re prone to infection, have asthma or are pregnant. Most healthy individuals recover from the flu on their own, but other health issues may require prescribed medication to beat it. If you are sick, be sure to drink plenty of water and get some rest. There’s no shame in taking a well-needed nap.

While the flu is a pretty common illness, it makes everyday activities difficult. Try to avoid getting sick, but if you do get the virus, remember to take care of yourself. Don’t force yourself to go to class if you can barely muster getting out of bed, it will just slow your progress of beating the flu. Remember to stay safe, and stay healthy.

There are a few options of getting the flu vaccine on campus. The SUB Room 236 will have clinics on the following days:

October 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

October 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

October 25, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

November 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.