On Tuesday morning, I woke up feeling somewhat akin to a puzzled chameleon: off-color, and silent.
The lump in my throat had little to do with whatever nerves my alarm clock has not yet sizzled.
After a few tries at speaking—with only a whisper that might have been in homage to Gollum to show for my efforts—it became clear that the only lecture I would sit in would come from my doctor’s office, not the classroom.
After shuttling over to her office, I waited under my family doctor’s skeptical eye. “The flu has had a late season,” she muttered, along with her congratulations on my having not captured the virus.
In the absence of speech, I attempted a smile: that much, I was unsurprised by.
Earlier in the semester, I had planned to ward off the bug, through a two-minute wait at the Health and Wellness Center and this season’s vaccine.
By the reckoning of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website, guesswork on what a flu season might look like can cause sports speculations to appear certain.
“While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one year to another,” they outline.
Nevertheless, a February press release from the CDC scribbled down influenza’s 2015-2016 run as lengthy.
The development of the vaccine itself is a tricky business, as the flu is changeable and given to mutation; the vials administered in clinics are meant to cover the most common strains of the virus.
At the same time, there is cause to celebrate this year.
By a February estimation, this season’s vaccine has been a success: as Dr. Joseph Bree, chief of CDC’s Epidemiology and Prevention Branch explained, “getting a flu vaccine this season reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by nearly 60 percent.”
It’s a grade that matters—and as I swallowed, if a bit painfully, it was one that I could give thanks for.
Follow Kaitlin Ruiz on Twitter: @kaitlinruiz95