Last Friday, Plattsburgh State’s Health and Counseling Center offered free flu shots to students in order to prevent the flu virus from spreading this upcoming winter.
The shots, while free to students, were offered to faculty and staff for $20. This cost helped sponsor a student’s vaccine.
Students and faculty were required to present a PSUC identification card, fill out a screening form to disclose underlying health issues, and wait in line to get a shot.
In previous years, the health center held the clinic in areas that would attract a large student population, such as dining halls and academic building hallways. This year, the clinic was held in the Angell College Center, in front of the Sundowner.
Director of the Student Health Center Kathleen Camelo said she enlists in the health center’s staff nurses to help administer shots. She said she enjoys the opportunity the clinic gives her to interact with students when they are healthy, not just when they are sick.
“The shots are highly recommended,” Camelo said. “There are no downsides and very few side effects. It is very safe.”
Licensed Practical Nurse and PSUC health center employee Katrina Depo said this year’s clinic was very successful, as more students received a shot.
Camelo said faculty members also turned out in large numbers not only to receive a shot for themselves, but to also help students.
“This is the least painful flu shot I’ve ever gotten.” one student said as Depo administered the vaccine into her arm.
PSUC student affairs and higher education graduate student Morgan McAdam received her flu shot at the clinic and said it was easier and faster than anywhere she had ever gotten the vaccine before.
“I do it every year,” McAdam said, “I won’t get the flu, and it’s super quick.”
Camelo urged students who were considering the shot to think about others on campus.
“It’s about protecting yourself and fellow students,” she said, “especially those in residence halls. The germs spread fast there.”
Medline Plus, a branch of the U.S. National Library of Medicine lists preventive steps such as covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, using hand sanitizer and soap as frequently as possible, and avoiding hand-to-face contact.
Depo said any concerns surrounding the flu vaccine are a myth. She said students should get the shot, just to be safe.
According to a study by the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, a flu shot can reduce the number of doctor visits and decrease the use of antibiotics.
The vaccine can also reduce the number of missed classes and the impairment of academic performance during flu season.
For next year, Camelo hopes to offer the clinic even earlier in the semester, as the preventive vaccine can take up to two weeks to be effective.
Flu symptoms include Fever, Cough, Sore Throat, muscle and body aches, as well as fatigue and running or stuffy nose, according to the Center for Disease Control.
“The best offense is a good defense,” Camelo said.
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