SHS on the flu: We’re well-prepared
Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013 23:01
With flu season fully underway, UConn’s Student Health Services (SHS) is helping students to avoid catching the virus.
SHS provided free vaccinations to students for six hours on Jan. 24 in the lobby of the Student Union. According to Laurie Loehr, an administrative assistant for SHS, SHS is looking to set up another vaccination clinic on Jan. 29.
“I think it’s really great that SHS provides us access to these vaccinations for free, when they could easily charge us for them,” said Jake Clark, a 4thsemester pre-kinesiology major.
Two pharmaceutical manufacturers in California provided 500 doses of the latest influenza vaccine to SHS. Roughly 230 to 250 vaccines have been administered by SHS since receiving the shipment, leaving about 250 vaccines available for the next clinic session. Students can also receive vaccinations in the infirmary as walk-in patients.
The vaccine will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis until the next possible shipment. According to Tina McCarthy, the Interim Director of Nursing for SHS, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) said that the vaccine is a good match for the virus, so it should be effective in preventing flu-related infections.
There is also 63 percent coverage rate for all potential cases, meaning that there is a high availability of the vaccine in the United States.
While other types of Influenza, like Swine or Avian, were of much concern during past flu seasons, McCarthy says that all of the cases that SHS is encountering right now are of the normal Influenza strain.
“This is just another routine flu season for us. We’re following the recommended CDC guidelines for flu prevention, and we’re well-prepared to deal with this virus,” said McCarthy.
Potential symptoms of the flu include fever, muscle aches, headache, sore or scratchy throat, runny nose, and/or cough, according to the SHS website.
SHS also advises safe sanitary practices to help avoid spreading the flu and other viruses. Covering one’s mouth when coughing or sneezing, washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizers, and avoiding contact with others who may be ill can all be effective methods to lessen the chances of becoming sick.
“I feel that SHS is doing a great job here,” said Angi Wang, a 6th-semester allied health major. “It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so I’m glad that they’re helping students to be well-informed about flu prevention. Hopefully these steps can minimize the effects of the virus on campus.”
Students can contact Student Health Services at (860)-486-4700 if they believe that they are sick. Additionally, flu kits are available at SHS to all students upon presenting their identification cards.