Flu vaccine available for students at University Health Services

University Health Services (UHS) will hold a flu vaccination clinic for University Park students on Monday, Oct. 11. Students are strongly encouraged to schedule appointments ahead of time and may schedule appointments online at http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health/myUHS starting Oct. 4. Appointments will be available between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Penn State student health insurance plans will cover the cost of the vaccine ($20) if it is received at UHS.

Although the World Health Organization discontinued the pandemic alert on Aug. 10, 2010, the H1N1 virus isn’t history yet. Based in part on last year’s H1N1 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised flu vaccine recommendations this year to include everyone older than 6 months, not just those at high risk for complications. Those at high risk for serious complications from the flu include pregnant women, individuals with a chronic medical condition (such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis or heart disease), or individuals who are immune-compromised.

Immunization against the flu can lessen the chances of infection. This year’s flu vaccine will include the 2009 H1N1 strain as part of the vaccine. The vaccine will be manufactured in the same manner as previous years and the same high level of effectiveness is expected. “Vaccination is the smartest thing you can do to prevent the spread of flu,” states Shelley Haffner, infection control nurse manager for University Health Services (UHS).

Frequent handwashing, proper nutrition and adequate rest also can reduce your susceptibility to influenza and other infectious disease. Covering your mouth and nose when sneezing can also decrease the chance of infecting others. Be sure to dispose of facial tissues properly and avoid sharing personal items (such as toothbrushes or drinks).

For those who do get sick, knowing the difference between the flu and the common cold can help patients properly treat their symptoms. Flu usually develops much more suddenly and symptoms are more severe. In general, people who have the flu are more likely to have fever, muscle aches, headache, fatigue and less likely to have symptoms typical of a cold, such as sneezing and nasal congestion. Online self-care guides are available for both colds and flu on the UHS website at http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health/healthTopics/pdf/SelfCareCommonColdUHS.pdf and http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health/healthTopics/pdf/self_care_flu.pdf online.

For additional information about avoiding the flu this season, visit the UHS website at http://www.sa.psu.edu/uhs or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/flu. Additional information and resources on good hand hygiene are available at http://www.sa.psu.edu/uhs/ohpe/handwashing.cfm.







Last Updated November 18, 2010