The University of Arizona Campus Health Service will be providing flu shots for families and students during Family Weekend on Saturday, Oct. 12.
Sara Little, MSN, RN is the Immunization Coordinator for Campus Health. Little said a study conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Disease in 2017 showed that 70% of college students think the flu vaccine is important, but only between 8% and 39% of students receive one.
She also said the study "indicated that almost 50% of students rely on advice from parents" or other family members when it comes to getting the vaccine.
“Family Weekend is a great opportunity for CHS to provide flu shots and for parents to encourage their students to get vaccinated," Little said.
Health Promotion and Preventive Services makes an effort to fight the flu through their outreach and flu campaigns. The Campus Health website is up to date on times and days that the flu shot vaccine is available.
Little says getting a flu shot can be plenty beneficial. Some benefits include protecting students for a healthy classroom and reducing the risk of influenza virus by 40-60%. Getting vaccinated every year prevents the risk of containing the flu and the spread of the virus as well, Little said.
“Getting the flu can put a person down for a week or more which, at college, can have a negative impact on learning, classes and grades," Little said.
David Salafsky, interim co-executive director for Campus Health and director of Health Promotion and Preventative Services, expressed his thoughts on getting the vaccine.
“If you don’t have time to be out of commission for a week with the flu, getting a flu shot is the number one best way to protect yourself," Salafsky said.
To prevent the flu, Little advises against close contact with sick people, staying home if sick (particularly if you catch a fever), frequently washing your hands with soap and water and covering your hands and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages almost everyone to get a flu shot. The website states that, “Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exception. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza.”
Little says it’s extremely urgent for the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions to get vaccinated, since the high risk of flu virus complications are much more serious.
Little thinks the most vital ages to get a flu shot are ages 65 and above and children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years.
“The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot. Campus Health Service strongly encourages all students to get the flu vaccine every year," Little said. "This year, we have joined the Influenza College Challenge, put on by the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Arizona Partnership for Immunizations, to encourage college students throughout Arizona to get vaccinated. We are in a friendly competition with ASU, NAU and GCU to see who can give the highest percentage of flu shots to their students."
This year’s flu prevention slogan is “Beat the flu and ASU!”
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