Flu shots still available for students on campus

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By Maddy Scheel

Feb. 17, 2016

Flu season is still here. In fact, it’s in full swing.

To prevent against the flu, University Health Counseling Services (UHCS) encourages students to consider a vaccination, even this late into the winter.

“While it has been detected on campus, none of our tests … have proven positive, but this is likely to change because it is starting to show an upswing in the state,” said Ruth Swisher, health service director at University Health Counseling Services (UHCS). “We have administered several hundred [flu shots]. Earlier in the season, it has been a low number of cases but we are starting to see that change, and influenza has been detected from people who are on campus, so it is important to protect one’s self.”

For students, the flu shot seems to take a backseat.

“I’ve heard about it, but I’m super busy and sometimes it is just not always the first thing on my mind,” sophomore Leah Motl said.

Some students are aware there are flu shots administered on campus, but don’t always make it their first priority.

“I have not gotten a flu shot this year,” senior Kentrell Washington said. “I knew [about the flu shot] I just haven’t taken the opportunity.”

Receiving the flu shot on campus is a relatively easy process, Swisher said.

The cost for the shot is $5, and students can pay through cash, credit, purple points or charge it to their student bill.

The flu shot can be administered in other places, such as a drugstore or a clinic of one’s choosing. Walgreen’s or the Dean Clinic on Main Street serve as viable options for vaccination as well.

“We are trying to encourage all of our population [to get vaccinated] and we have been able to subsidize the cost for the influenza vaccine to encourage people to get their flu shots and try to remove roadblocks if cost is an issue,” Swisher said.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) send out a nationwide memo to all clinicians warning of high influenza activity.

“This is an alert for young adults because they, first of all, may not have received the shot, and also if they didn’t receive the shot they may be more vulnerable to this strain,” Swisher said. “If they are in the younger age group, they have not had the exposure to flu over their lifetime to have any natural resistance.”

February might seem a bit late to get your flu shot, but Swisher said the flu season can last through to the spring.

All students living in residence halls or enrolled in large classes should consider getting the shot because of their close proximity to peers in classes.

“It’s a droplet; when a person coughs or sneezes, that goes into the air,” Swisher said. “[Students] can’t prevent someone else from coughing or sneezing.”

More so, getting the shot allows you to protect not only yourself, but those who are most vulnerable, she said.

“Not everyone can get the influenza shot; some people have a health condition that prevents them from getting it,” Swisher said. “The fewer people that are likely to carry the disease, the more those people are protected. I see it as a civic duty.”

Those interested in receiving a flu shot can schedule an appointment on campus by calling (262) 472-1300 or registering on the UHCS website, in addition to outside services.