First student-only flu vaccine clinic offers additional health security

Students lined up in the Student Union earlier this month to receive their annual flu shot at the first ever student-only clinic at NKU.

This was the first year that a student-only clinic was available after Northern Kentucky set a record last season for number of reported flu cases.

There were 3,492 reported cases of the flu in the 2012-13 season, including eight deaths, according to the Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department, a substantial increase from the 284 cases reported in 2011-12.

In previous years, this clinic was combined with a faculty and staff clinic.

“We wanted to get the word out to students, increase participation, and have easier access,” said campus nurse Betsy Hausfeld.

Hausfeld said the clinic helps create a healthy campus community.

The clinic took place earlier in the month and students could walk in and receive the 2013-14 influenza vaccine without appointment.

The vaccine was administered by the campus nurses, Michele Kay and Hausfeld in Student Union 109, between Sept. 9-11.

Students enjoyed the convenience of walking in and receiving the vaccine on campus instead of having to go to a doctor or a pharmacy.

“I get sick all of the time,” said freshman electronic media and broadcasting major Meagan Card. “I live on campus so it is convenient to get it here.”

Nicole Childers, a senior media informatics major, also gets the vaccine regularly. She has received her flu vaccine for the past two years at NKU. Childers said it was important to receive the shot “so you don’t miss your finals.”

Hausfeld said that students are sometimes reluctant to get a shot because they believe that the shot itself will make them get the flu. This, Hausfeld said, is a myth. The flu shot is an inactivated flu vaccine, which means that the vaccine is not a live virus. This makes it impossible to get the flu from the vaccine, she said.

Hausfeld stressed the importance of getting the vaccine as early as possible.

“We offered the vaccine earlier this year,” Hausfeld said.

Hausfeld said it takes up to three weeks to develop the antibodies from the administered vaccine. The earlier the shot is administered, the better the chance the immunity of the disease is built before the peak times of flu season, which is typically in the winter months.

Symptoms of flu include fever, sore throat, muscle aches and cough, according to the Center for Disease Control. Flu can also cause pneumonia and worsen existing medical conditions.

Hausfeld also offered some tips on flu prevention. She recommends practicing good hand washing, eating healthy and getting plenty of rest.

She also said that assembling a “flu kit” is a good idea because it can make dealing with the flu easier. Hausfeld’s flu kit includes items such as a thermometer, Advil and soup.

A faculty clinic is scheduled for October 1-3. Students who missed the clinic can still receive a vaccine by making an appointment with the Health, Counseling, and Prevention Services at 859-572-5650. Anthem BCBS, Aetna, Humana and United Healthcare insurance plans are accepted. The cost of the vaccine for uninsured patients is $20.