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Health Center offers flu shots

flu

Photo Illustration by Chris Pamperin/ Fourth Estate

Flu shots at the Counseling and Health Center are available to students and faculty while supplies last.

sarah chayer , News Writer
November 7, 2013
Filed under News, Top Stories

The time of year is approaching when students wake up with headaches, fevers, sore throats and body aches. With the correct prevention techniques against influenza, students can alleviate that problem.

Flu shots have been available at UW-Green Bay for many years. Amy Henniges, director of Counseling and Health Center, said they have been offered at least the past four years since she started her work here on campus.

“Last year, we did about 270 doses, so that’s how much we initially ordered this year,” Henniges said.

As of mid-October, approximately 70 doses had already been given out. If supplies do run out, Henniges said it may be possible to order more.

“Other years, it’s been hard to reorder additional doses, but this year I’m hoping the companies are well stocked,” said Henniges.

An influenza vaccination costs $15 for students and $20 for UWGB faculty and staff. Henniges said it is more affordable for students to get immunized on campus, as the charge covers only the supplies and the service is free thanks to subsidized student segregated fees.

Students can pay for flu shots using cash, check or pass points,

or charges can be put to their SIS account, according to Henniges.

The Counseling and Health Center stress the importance of preventing the spread of the flu in more ways than just taking the vaccine. Such methods include washing hands, avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth and covering nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.

Practicing healthy habits can also prevent the spread of flu, such as eating right, exercising, managing stress, drinking plenty of fluids and getting the appropriate amount of sleep.

Henniges said that avoiding contact with sick people is also important in stopping the spread of influenza. If a person does get sick, it is recommended that they stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

If you do come in contact with sick individuals, Henniges said there are antiviral medications that can be obtained from a health care provider. Antivirals can be used to reduce the chance of catching the flu.

Of course, the best way to prevent the spread of the flu is with the vaccination, but there are some risks to receiving the shot.

Henniges said a person should not get a flu shot if he or she is already feeling or has an allergy to egg protein.

Brian Merkel, human biology associate professor at UWGB, finds the risks related to the immunization should not stop someone from getting a flu shot.

“The only thing you have to worry about is if you have allergies to egg products because of the way they develop the vaccine, there can be some of that stuff in there. Other than that, the risks are very minimal,” Merkel said.

Merkel said that naturally, the immune system will react to the vaccine, as it is meant to safely prepare the immune system should it be exposed to the flu later on.

Warren Johnson, chair of human biology and associate professor of biochemistry at UWGB, agrees with Merkel that the benefits outweigh the risks of flu shots.

“The flu is different from a cold. Thousands of people die from influenza in the US each year,” Johnson said. In his opinion, the flu shot could be that very small risk that could save a life.

“Exposing yourself to vaccination will make you feel achy and sick for a few hours, especially a tenderness around the area of injection,” Johnson said. “This is your body’s immune system responding to the flu shot, and the sick feeling is usually over within 24 hours.”

Johnson said that there are organized communities against immunizations, mainly on the Internet, that are misguided and misinformed about risks and side-effects. He said that well-meaning parents of these groups refuse vaccines for their children, attributing negative events to vaccines.

The anti-immunization groups often focus on incorrect data, whether the wrongful information was shared purposefully or as an honest mistake according to Johnson.

Students with any additional questions or concerns regarding influenza and its vaccine can contact the counseling and health center or visit www.cdc.gov or www.flu.gov, both of which are recommended resources by Henniges.