This winter the Center for Disease Control estimates nearly 200,000 American’s will be hospitalized due to complications from one of the world’s most common viruses, and no it’s not Ebola. Influenza season is here once again.
Influenza, better known as “the flu,” is a respiratory virus that strikes the young, the old and everyone in between. Symptoms often include muscle-aches, fever, fatigue and occasionally a cough or runny nose.
“The flu can really put a student’s semester at risk,” says Colleen Bernstein, a RN in charge of health education at UW-Milwaukee. “The flu typically hits hardest in November or December, right around finals time. It’s hard to go back and see if you can repeat exams, repeat the semester or withdrawal. It can become a big deal.”
In an effort to keep students healthy and in class, Norris Health Center, through a partnership with the UWM College of Nursing, is sponsoring campus-wide flu clinics. At the clinics, student nursing technicians administer vaccinations to students, faculty and community members.
To anyone hesitant about getting an injection from a student, Bernstein offers nothing but reassurance. “Really they are the ones to get a shot from. They just learned all the material and are the most up to date on information and technique. The clinic flow tends to go very well.”
Bernstein stresses that the decision to get a flu shot is a personal choice, but she recommends it. “There is no downside to getting a flu shot. We try to give students responsible information and we know students will make a good decision.”
The first clinic was held October 1, and so far about 250 students and professional staff have been vaccinated. Bernstein expects the clinic to deliver about 850 vaccinations by the time it wraps up on November 12.
Additional clinics will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 14, and Nov. 18, at Sandburg Tower’s Greene Room. On Nov. 12, a clinic will run in the Union’s Fireside Lounge from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cost of a vaccination is $10 for students, $20 for faculty/staff and $25 for community members.