Fighting the flu: Hunziker stresses importance of flu shots


Photo by: Kaley Mussa

According to nurse practitioner Amber Hunziker, good hygiene and routine hand washing can aid in the prevention of the flu spreading.

Story by Ian Sullivan, Reporter

As the 2019 flu-season approaches, nursing staff prepares for the annual sickness. 

Advanced practice registered nurse Amber Hunziker, who is in her first year of practice at the high school, has witnessed firsthand the signs of flu-season.

“I feel like we’ve had more confirmed cases sooner than we’ve ever had. Or at least in my experience, I’ve never seen [confirmed cases] come back positive this quickly,” Hunziker said. “I know Crawford County and Bourbon County have both had confirmed cases of flu now for the last several weeks.” 

According to Hunziker, the flu has hit earlier this year.

“Usually it kind of starts really hard about November and we see kind of starting to wane around February. I think it was two years ago we had flu season wind into May, which is generally not the case,” Hunziker said.

Although there are different types of flu viruses, they typically come with similar symptoms.

“There’s two types of flu, Flu A and Flu B. They do present with a little bit of different symptoms, but the main thing that is almost always present are high fevers, like 100-103 degrees,” Hunziker said. ”Another example is feeling fine one minute and then an hour later having body aches, chills and upset stomach.”

In order to prevent the spread of flu, Hunziker encourages good hygiene.

“Lots of good hand washing, I think would be number one thing. Not sharing drinks, making sure covering your mouth when you’re coughing and getting the flu vaccine.

Hunziker stressed the importance of the flu-shot.

“It’s the only way to protect yourself essentially against the flu. Does it always work 100%? No. But if you don’t get it, you have 0% chance of protecting yourself against the flu,” Hunziker said. “Generally, even if you do get influenza after the flu shot, it will be much less severe with less side effects. You’re also less likely to end up in the hospital or even die.” 

According to Hunziker, it is not always beneficial to get the shot early.

“You don’t want to get [the flu shot] too early because it is only effective for approximately six months,” Hunziker said.  “At the same time, it does take about two weeks to actually take effect, so we’d want you to get the flu shot [as soon as possible].” 

Hunziker, along with all other PHS health clinic staff, welcomes anyone to fill out a form to get their flu shot.

“We’re doing them in here at the [school] clinic. We are happy to take any walk-ins,” Hunziker said. “ You can take [a form] home to your mom or dad and we’ll do your flu shot right here. You won’t even have to leave school.”