Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Campus community encouraged to get flu shots
In light of a rise in influenza activity and unusually high number of flu-related hospitalizations reported among young and middle-age adults in Michigan, officials with Oakland University's Graham Health Center are strongly encouraging students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated this flu season.
“We are seeing students sick with the flu almost daily at GHC, and we are very concerned,” said Nancy Jansen, director of Graham Health Center.
“On a positive note, there has been a large increase in the demand for vaccination over the past week, and we are working hard to keep the vaccine in stock.”
The annual flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent flu and flu-related complications that could lead to hospitalization and even death. Flu shots are available at Oakland University’s Graham Health Center for $20. The vaccine is covered by most insurance plans.
There are many options with regard to flu vaccines this season, according to Jansen.
“There are quadrivalent vaccines, non-egg-based recombinant vaccines and high dose for age 65 and up,” she said.
Jansen added that the vaccines can be administered in three different ways: intranasal, intradermal and intramuscular, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend one vaccine or method over another. Visit the CDC website to learn more about the types and methods of flu vaccination.
Getting a flu vaccine is more convenient than ever before. Vaccines are available from physicians, local health departments, and at many retail pharmacies. Many employers, colleges and universities also offer flu vaccines. Additionally, the annual vaccine supply continues to grow, helping to ensure that enough vaccine is available for everyone.
The CDC lists several groups who are especially vulnerable to the flu, including children aged six months and older, pregnant women, people aged 50 and older, people with compromised immune systems or certain chronic health conditions, and people who live or work with others facing high risk of flu complications.
“It is not too late to get a flu shot. It does take about 2 weeks for the vaccine to become effective, but flu season is just getting started and can last until March.” Jansen said. “The most important thing is just to get vaccinated.”
In addition to getting vaccinated, other healthy habits include hand-washing, covering one’s cough and avoiding close contact to prevent the spread of germs. A nutritious diet, proper rest and physical activity can also reduce the risk of getting sick.
For more information on health services or receiving a flu shot at Graham Health Center, call (248) 370-2341 or visit the website at oakland.edu/ghc. The center also offers an affordable health insurance plan for OU students who don’t have access to family- or work-provided coverage. To learn more, visit the GHC insurance plan site.