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Seasonal Flu Shots to be offered on campus

Written By Joseph Bacharach

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 Flu shots will be offered for the second time this season on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010.    The Seasonal Flu Shot Clinic will be open from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Atrium Overlook on the second floor of Academic Hall.”Students living in such close, confined spaces are at an increased risk of getting the flu,” Jeanne Beveridge RN said, coordinator of the Student Health Center. “Especially…[Conservatory of the Performing Arts] students and athletes where they are in such close contact with each other…there’s more of a risk.”            According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, more than 150 flu cases have been reported nationwide already this season.  Ninety-two of those cases were reported from Oct. 10 to Oct. 16 alone. This time last year, 80 percent of all hospital visits were a result of flu-like symptoms.  In the past three flu seasons deaths caused by or related to flu viruses nearly doubled each year, from 88 deaths in the 07-08 season to 133 deaths in the 08-09 season and last year there were 281 deaths.             “Every year it gets worse,” Beveridge said. “[There are] more and more cases each year. That’s why we do this sort of thing.”            Freshman dance major Chelsea Adams is worried for this flu season. “It’s [going to] be bad,” Adams said, “I’m…happy the school is doing this.”            For the second year in a row, CVS Pharmacy is providing the vaccine, which protects against three viruses that have been predicted to be the most prevalent this season; the H3N2, influenza B and the 2009 H1Ni viruses. The difference between this year and last is that all three vaccines will be administered in one shot instead of two.  Two CVS pharmacists will be administering the shots.  The fee for the shot is $20; checks and cash are accepted.        Madison Decoske, a sophomore stage management major understands the risk that the flu carries with it. “It affects me [and] my job, Decoske said. “I can’t function if I am sick and I have to keep away from everybody that is sick.”            It is easy for students to ensure that they do not get the flu this season. Vaccination entails being injected with an inactive or dead form of the flu virus into a muscle. After getting the shot, students may experience minor side effects such as soreness, redness, aches or swelling in the area the shot was administered and possibly a low-grade fever.”[But] you will not get the flu from the flu shot,” Beveridge said, “because it is not a live virus.”            The flu shot is not for everyone, though.  According to a flu vaccination fact sheet found on the CDC website, those who have experienced a severe reaction to influenza vaccines or those with severe chicken egg allergies should not get one.According to the CDC, getting the flu vaccine protects not only recipients, but the recipient may spread influenza to as well, especially those at a higher risk for complications from the flu.              Seventy-one people showed up for the first Seasonal Flu Clinic this year, held on Oct. 19.  Beveridge is happy with the attendance, but hopes more show up for this one.            “We will have as many vaccinations available as needed,” Beveridge said.            The offer is available to all students more than 18 years of age.  For more information about the Seasonal Flu Shot Clinic go to the Student Health Center on the second floor of Thayer Hall or call 412-392-3800.  For more information about the flu, visit the CDC at www.cdc.gov.  To find other Flu Clinics, visit www.flu.gov/widgets/vaccinelocater.html.

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