Kent State continues to offer flu shots

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The H3N2 influenza flu has affected the entire country, targeting young children, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.

Anu Sharma

This past year, the flu ranked in the top six of academic impediments of students. It was on the list along with stress, anxiety, sleep difficulties, depression and work.

Due to this, Kent State is looking to figure out preventive measures to stop Kent State students from obtaining it. Sierra Baker, the health educator from the University Health Services Office of Health Promotion, says 12.4 percent of the student body reported the flu affecting their academic well-being.

She suggests taking preventative measures this flu season. A common misconception about the flu shot is getting the flu from it. However, the flu shot does not give someone the flu, it helps them get over the flu quicker. Baker said the side effects, if any, are short and mild.

Baker also said Ohio was hit hard this flu season. The National College Health Assessment, a nationwide survey of all participating colleges, collected data of students who reported they have the flu.

She said data for Kent State included some students who said the flu affected their individual academic performance.

“That’s defined as received a low grade on an exam, they received a low grade in the course they had to drop the course or they experienced some kind of significant disruption in like thesis or practicum work,” she said.  

Dr. Jennifer D’Abreau, the interim chief university physician said this year the health center ordered 2,200 flu vaccines, which is 100 more than the 2016-17 year. She said on Thursdays from 3-5 p.m. the health center will be giving out flu shots until they run out. There are roughly 300 left.

For individuals who do not have health insurance, Baker said the health center is still able to help if that individual calls ahead.

“If anyone not having insurance or being out of network, should never be a reason you know, to not at least give us a call to see what we can do for you,” Baker said.

Baker explained there is a self-pay rate, which is how an individual can buy the flu shot. D’Abreau said the flu shot without insurance is $30, which can be paid with FlashCash or billed to an individual’s bursar account.

Additionally, Baker said University Health Services doesn’t excuse from academic responsibilities.

“UHS strongly encourages students who are ill to contact their professors prior to their absence to make arrangements for anything that they’re going to miss or any deadlines that they might miss, but we do not write excuses.”

D’Abreau explained scientists look to Australia to predict how bad the flu season will be because it hits Australia first.

“Preventative measures is like our best fight against the flu virus of course because it’s a virus right so it just has to run its course through your body,” Baker said.

Anu Sharma is the health reporter. Contact her at [email protected]