The SRU Student Health Center now has flu shots available to assist in preventing students from getting sick during this flu season.
Laura Hawkins, nurse supervisor at the Health Center, states that they have already received over 10 doses of the vaccination and expect to get 140 more within the next couple of days.
“At the beginning of the season, we target students with chronic illnesses,” Hawkins said.
Grace Hajave, infection control nurse health center said that getting a vaccination for the flu will be a herd immunity solution. She said that getting the vaccine will not only protect you, but will also protect people who are not able to get vaccinated such as chemotherapy patients or people with chronic diseases.
She said that they are also targeting the PA students at the Harrisville Building and giving the shots to them.
Kristina Benkeser, Director of the health center said that the physician assistant students have direct contact with the public, so it is a mandatory part of their clinical placements for them to receive their vaccinations. She also said that it is strongly recommended for education majors and any other healthcare related majors.
Benkeser mentioned that the vaccination is free for all students and paid for out of the student health center fee.
Hajave said that the reason that there was such a large outbreak of the flu last year is because the flu virus mutated, causing the numbers to increase.
“The new vaccine this year will include the virus that was of concern last year, but every year it is an educational guess as to which will hit and cause the most trouble,” Hajave said.
Benkeser said that everything you get a flu shot, you are protecting your family, grandparents, and children around you.
Hajave went on to say that there is a misconception with vaccinations.
“I love dispelling myths, because people need to understand that vaccinations do not cause autism,” Hajave said.
Hajave said that another common reason people do not get vaccinated is because they do not feel like it or are afraid of needles. She said that people often claim that they do not need to vaccinate against rare diseases, but said in response that in 1918 people died of the flu because vaccinations were not yet invented.
Benkeser said that college students often say they are young and otherwise healthy and that their bodies can fight off the diseases on their own.
“A case of influenza could keep you from class for 7-10 days and you won’t be able to keep up with class,” Benkeser said. “You will feel like you got hit by a semi-truck and nobody wants that.”
The nurses at the health center also stressed that it is important to take precautions to prevent getting and spreading the flu virus.
“The best strategy is to prevent, which means get vaccinated, drink fluids, eat healthy, and wash your hands,” Benkeser said.
It is also important to never share drinks with anyone ever and to keep personal belongings personal, she said.
Hajave said that athletes often times think that they can work through an illness, when in reality they often times do the opposite.
“There have been so many times that I have seen athletes washed out because they have not properly replaced their fluids and end up very sick,” she said.
Hawkins said that the health center is constantly generating how to attract attention to the importance of getting flu vaccinations. She said that the Health Fest on October 16th will be a good way to target some of the college students who may not think on their own that it is important to get a flu shot.
According to the Health Educator, Vanessa Vought, the health center will be doing a flu campaign again this year.
“The hashtag is #SRUtackletheflu to fit the sports theme,” Vought said.
She said that if a student takes a picture with their band-aid and posts it using the hashtag, they will be in the running for a sports-themed prize.