Dates for flu clinics announced

Emily Mills

University Health Services and the College of Nursing will be conducting several flu clinics for Kent State students, faculty, staff and dependents, as flu season quickly approaches.

The 2013 Flu Clinic will be held Oct. 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second floor of the Kent State library, and the 2013 University Health Services Open House Flu Clinic will be Nov. 7 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Both of the flu clinics are open to all students, faculty, staff and dependents more than 6 years old.

In addition, the 2013-2014 Open Enrollment and Wellness Fair will be Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Ballroom; however, this flu clinic is only open to faculty and staff.

University Health Services nurses and sophomore College of Nursing students will administer the shots, said Shelly Verba, nursing manager for University Health Services.

Tracey Motter, senior undergraduate program director for the College of Nursing, said nursing students administer shots to gain knowledge and to ease the load on the University Health Services nurses.

“We have some clinical students that will help give immunizations, so that gives them experience, and we give them (University Health Services) help,” Motter said.

The College of Nursing will also be holding a flu clinic in Henderson Hall room 205 Oct. 16 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Nursing students are required to get a flu shot. This flu clinic is primarily for nursing students but has been opened to the public.

Nursing students participate in clinicals, in which they work in local clinical agencies such as hospitals or clinics. These clinical agencies require all of their workers to get flu shots, Motter said.

However, if workers opt out of getting the shot, clinical agencies can require them to wear a mask until May, which is the end of flu season.

If students and staff are enrolled in the university-sponsored group health plans through Medical Mutual or Anthem, the flu shots are free. Otherwise, they cost $20.

All people are encouraged to get flu shots, according to Kent State’s human resources department website. Health care workers, pregnant women and individuals with asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS or kidney disease are especially susceptible to flu and should consider getting vaccinated.

Symptoms of flu include fever, body aches, headache, exhaustion and cough, Verba said.

A few cases of flu have already been reported in Portage County, but no cases have yet been reported at Kent State, said Dr. Jennifer D’Abreau, senior physician with University Health Services.

The best way to prevent getting the flu, Verba said, is practicing “good hand hygiene and keeping yourself healthy. Get rest; don’t let yourself get exhausted; eat (well); and get the flu shot.”

Motter said it’s important students get the shot so they can avoid getting the virus and missing class or work.

“It can last a week or more, so students can get behind in their classes,” she said.

Similarly, D’Abreau said it is important to get the flu shot because once students contract the flu virus, it can lead to other diseases.

“It’s not just the flu,” D’Abreau said. “It can lead to fatigue, pneumonia, dehydration and other severe complications that can lead to prolonged illness.”

She said the flu virus can also eventually lead to death.

Motter said a flu shot is vital for students on a college campus, where disease can spread quickly.

“It’s really important for everyone, especially when you’re going to college where a lot of people are close to each other in small rooms. (The shot has) such a small risk factor; it’s really worth it to get it,” Motter said.

Verba agreed.

“It’s either two seconds of pain versus possibly being in bed missing work or school for a week or more.”

Contact Emily Mills at [email protected].