Fight off flu with prevention, shots

By Carol Dwyer
November 2, 2011


Dr. Martin Jones uses hand sanitizer after seeing a patient he tested for flu at Care Now in Allen, Texas.

Signs are posted around campus listing the familiar, tough symptoms that those coming down with the flu begin to feel.  The signs relay the importance of getting a flu shot by comparing a quick solution to a week of the flu’s worst symptoms.  To prevent students from getting sick and missing classes, along with preventing the spread of germs, Cabrini offers flu shots without the financial heft.

In previous years, flu seasons have varied in terms of severity.  According to Science Daily, a computer model assists with predicting how severe a given flu season will be.  However, even if it turns out not to be a severe flu season, the importance of getting a flu shot remains as the flu can spread.

“It hasn’t started here yet; there were a few cases in Western Pennsylvania,” Susan M. Fitzgerald, RN and coordinator of student health services, said.  “You can track it.”

Fitzgerald went to the Center for Disease Control website, and brought up a map of the United States.  States are represented in different color shades and patterns to reflect where the flu is having an impact and to what degree.

Fitzgerald said that students’ response to flu shot notices around campus have been slow but steady.

“We started earlier this year than in previous years,” Fitzgerald said.  “The CDC is really focusing on getting vaccinated early before the flu is in the area.”

Along with the flu shots, numerous brochures with relevant information on this annual illness are provided in the health wing.  For students who have not made their way to the Health Center yet, it is located on Founders Hall first floor and through the automated doors just past the Marketplace.

According to one CDC fact sheet that Fitzgerald provided, those who are already sick should not get their flu shots yet.

“It’s harder to get flu shots when it is in the area, because you’re not supposed to get the shots while you’re not feeling well,” Fitzgerald said.

With so much going on in the life of a college student, it is all the more important to take care of health-related matters.  If a student becomes sick, it can be a source of stress and affect his or her college course work.

Fitzgerald also discussed other measures for students to take, along with vaccinations, to prevent flu symptoms.

“Good handwashing, eat right, rest, don’t smoke,” Fitzgerald said.  “When you are sick, good handwashing is key, as is staying at home or in your dorm room.  If you’re sick, come to the health center so you can minimize the complications.”

Fitzgerald said in regards to education majors that they should be encouraged to get vaccinated due to their experiences going out to area schools.  Residents also have an increased chance of spreading and contracting the flu, according to Fitzgerald.

One student weighed in on getting flu shots for the semester as well.

“I haven’t gotten them yet,” Aliza Jaeploe, freshman psychology major, said.  Jaeploe said also that she wasn’t planning to soon.

Useful health information can be picked up along the hallway as it continues toward the nurse’s office at the far end.  Health Services is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or call the office at 610-902-8400.  The cost of a flu shot for students is $25 and can be paid for conveniently with students’ accounts; no appointed needed.


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Carol Dwyer

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