FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2014 file photo, a sign telling customers that they can get a flu shot in a Walgreen store is seen in Indianapolis. Kids may get more of a sting from flu vaccination this fall: Doctors are gearing up to give shots only, because U.S. health officials say the easy-to-use nasal spray version of the vaccine isn't working as well as a jab. Needle-phobic adults still have some less painful options. But FluMist, with its squirt into each nostril, was the only ouch-free alternative for children, and has accounted for about a third of pediatric flu vaccinations in recent years. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

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Not even two weeks into classes and the flu has already made its way around campus. As of Thursday, there were 56 confirmed cases of the flu on campus according to the TCU Health Center.

Kelle Tillman, associate director of the Health Center, said about 1,500 flu vaccines – which are free to faculty, students and staff – have been given on campus so far by the Health Center and the Harris College of Nursing. Flu shots are also available at pharmacies such as Tom Thumb, Kroger, Albertsons, CVS and Walgreens. 

Tillman said ways to prevent getting sick include increasing efforts to keep common areas such as the dorms and study rooms clean, using good hygiene and watching the way you and others cough and sneeze.

Junior chemistry major Gianna Mejia works at the Kroger Pharmacy and said she is lucky she isn’t sick after being around the line of people with the flu trying to get treatment. She said once the pharmacy sent out an email saying they were giving out shots, people came in that day.

“It came as a real shock when people started showing up with symptoms,” Mejia said. “Flu season typically starts in October. Usually we’re prepared with all the typical medications for the flu when the time comes around, but since it came so early we were wiped clean.”

Grant Garvin, a senior communications major, said he got sick the weekend before school started and had to miss two days of school.

“It was definitely tough to be able to keep up with classes and to try not to get behind in classes but fortunately I’m not behind,” Garvin said.

After going to classes Monday and Tuesday he went to the Health Center and found out he had the flu.

He said the Health Center told him to stay home from classes resting up until he was able to go a full day without running a fever. It took him two days of rest. Garvin said he had gotten the flu vaccination earlier in the year.

Students were advised to seek a healthcare provider if they begin to experience flu-like symptoms in a campus-wide email from medical director of the Health Center Jane Torgerson on Friday, Aug. 25. Those symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, feeling tired and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

Students who have a fever over 101°F are advised to isolate themselves and avoid going to class for 24 hours to help prevent spreading sickness.

Tillman also shot down the longtime campus-wide rumor that a certain percentage of students getting sick would shut down the university, no such rule exists. 

The TCU Health Center is providing free vaccines to students, faculty and staff this week. For more information, questions or concerns, call the Health Center at 817-257-7940 or visit the Tarrant County Public Health website.