Student Health Services Offer Flu Vaccination

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Although the weather may not seem to agree yet, summer is coming to a close at IUPUI and bringing in the next season. Some call it autumn. Others call it fall. But one name we can all agree on is “flu season.”

No matter what you call it, Student Health is ready to help prepare students. IUPUI Student Health Services hosted a successful Vaccination Clinic this past Wednesday, with over 700 students joining in on the Get Poked! Event. Vaccinations are still available to any student who did not get to attend.

“IUPUI Campus Health is already offering the flu vaccine to all students,” said Dr. Katherine Head, a professor of Health Communication. “There’s no appointment needed; students can go by Campus Health in Coleman Hall or the Campus Center Student Health office and ask for the vaccine.”

Health Services didn’t stop at flu vaccinations, either. Partnering with the Indiana State Department of Health, Health Services provided not only 1,000 vaccinations for the flu, but also 500 vaccinations for HPV. DOH also provided another 500 for Meningitis B, which recently joined the list of vaccinations required on IU campuses. Only about two years old, the Meningitis B vaccination proved to be high in demand and ran out shortly before the Get Poked! event ended. More vaccinations are already available at Campus Center and Coleman Hall.

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While it is common for college students to go to the doctor less regularly, Dr. Head still urged students to take the time to get vaccinated for the flu. Although it may seem like a harmless inconvenience, she said that there are a number of reasons to get protected against the virus.

“Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu and reduces the risk of getting the flu by 40-60%,” she said. “And even if you do contract the virus, the flu vaccine can help lessen the severity of the disease.”

Staying healthy ought to be a top priority for students. Many of us juggle classes, jobs, internships, and other responsibilities that demand our time and energy. Staying sick for a week or two is out of the question. If you do catch the flu, it is best to start treatment within the first two days of being sick, said Dr. Steven Wintermeyer, Director of Student Health. The major symptom for flu is a fever, so even buying a simple thermometer can help students be aware of their health and lessen the severity of the flu.

Vaccinations, early treatment, and careful hygiene habits aren’t just beneficial to our individual health. They also promote a healthier community overall. Last year proved to be the worst year for flu fatalities. The CDC reported that 80,000 Americans died of the flu in the winter of 2017, including 180 young children and teenagers. This is well above the typical average, which is approximately 46,000 according to Dr. Wintermeyer. “Getting vaccinated also helps provide protection to people who can’t get the flu vaccine, like small babies or immune-compromised people,” said Dr. Head. “The more people who are vaccinated, the healthier we all are.”

Dr. Wintermeyer agreed. People with asthma and pregnant women also have a higher risk of developing worse conditions after getting the flu, he said. “If they are immune-compromised, they can’t fight off the infections well. If they don’t seek treatment and hold off, the flu may develop into pneumonia.”

While vaccinations serve as an effective defense against the flu, it is important to remember healthy habits. Everyone should wash their hands regularly, cough into their elbows, and clean communal surfaces at least once a day. Also, be sure to sanitize phones and laptops frequently. This season, keep the spaces around you clean.


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