Vaccines are lifesavers….except when they’re not available?

Rabies Vaccine

Rabies vaccine may be one of those things you don’t really think about, until you need it.  There are two manufacturers of rabies vaccines in the US, and either can be used to prevent rabies, either before (pre-exposure) or after (post-exposure) a bite from an infected animal.  Unless you are a veterinarian or have some other type of close contact with animals, you don’t need the pre-exposure vaccines. 

Post-exposure vaccine is given whenever a person gets bitten or exposed to a animal potentially infected with rabies.  This can sometimes be a tough call, because rabies is not very common in Central Ohio, but there still is some risk.  In some cases, post-exposure rabies vaccine is recommended and administered to students here at Student Health Services. 

During this vaccine shortage, we will limiting our use of rabies vaccine to post-exposure situations only.  That means that some other students will be asked to wait a few weeks or more, but we do this for the good of the whole community, and to try to be sure that we have the vaccine when YOU really need it.

In the meantime:

  • if you are in a situation where a possible exposure has occured, ask your doctor to consult with local/state public health departments to ensure appropriate use of vaccine.
  • avoid wildlife contact
  • vaccinate pets/livestock
  • if possible, capture/observe/test exposing animal.

For more information, check out this CDC website – Rabies Vaccine: Current Situation, Posted: September 7, 2012, Updated: September 11, 2012

Be careful out there!

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health)



Welcome to campus, New Buckeyes Part II


Get your vaccination

Fall at the Shoe

Here are some more things you can learn about Student Health Services, so that we can be of service to YOU.

Medical Records

We are under strict rules to keep all of your medical information confidential and we take those rules very seriously.  You’ll need to sign an authorization form for us to release your health information to anyone, including your parents.  An authorization form can only be completed for health services that have already been rendered which means that we can’t honor any requests like, “you can just let my Mom have access to my records for as long as I’m at Ohio State.”


Prior to Fall Semester 2015 there were no immunization requirements for most students entering Ohio State.  However, beginning Fall Semester 2015 all new Ohio State University students are required to meet a Vaccination Requirement.  Information on the requirement can be found at:

  • All of these immunizations are available at the Student Health Center if you aren’t able to get them before you start school.  If you can get a copy of your Immunization records, that would be really helpful and keep you from getting immunizations you don’t need.

Allergy Injections

You can get your allergy shots at the Student Health Center while you’re here for school.

  • You need to submit the required paperwork prior to scheduling an appointment.
  • You can bring the allergen vials to the health center yourself or have them mailed to our facility.
  • We will store them for you and we can release them back to you as needed for injections during times away from the university.

These are just a few of the ways Student Health Services can be of service to you.  Come check us out!



Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

Updated by Tina Comston, M.Ed.


Our flu vaccine has arrived!!

Don't get lost in the crowd!

Fall Colors

Hey Buckeye students!  Our stock of flu vaccine has arrived and we are all ready to get this vaccine to you conveniently and efficiently.

Remember, Flu shots are very important to prepare you for a Buckeye Winter!  WHY? 

  • Flu season in Ohio usually is from December to April
  • Getting vaccinated any time this fall will help protect you throughout the flu season
  • CDC now recommends EVERYONE over the age of 6 months get a flu shot yearly
  • Have asthma, other lung diseases, or any other chronic illness? Then you have DOUBLE the reason to get this done!

Flu vaccines are designed to match as closely as possible to the strains of flu expected each winter, so the vaccine usually arrives in the community in the late summer/early flu. 

Walk-in (no appointment needed) programs will be held from 2-5:30 PM on our Ground Floor on:

  • October 1, 11, 18, 25, 30
  • November 7, 15

SHS Pharmacy also gives walk-in flu shots from 8:30 – 4:30 Monday through Friday.  No appointment needed!

Scheduled appointments for flu shots are also available by calling 614-292-4321 or online through My BuckMD (requires enrollment at the Health Center).

Our EVENTS Calendar also gives you access to forms that you can review and complete prior to your Health Center visit.

Our Flu Shot program price has been steady at $25 for over 5 years in a row, and have been covered in full by the Comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan.  This year, other insurance plans may cover this vaccine in full as well. 


Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)


Get a Gold Medal for Vaccine Awareness!


Go for the Gold

We all need immunizations (also called vaccines or shots) to help protect us from serious diseases. To help keep our local campus community safe, BuckMD and OSU Student Health Services are proudly participating in National Immunization Awareness Month.

Shots can prevent infectious diseases like measles, diphtheria, rubella, and HPV. They can also reduce the number of students who will suffer from influenza each winter.  But people in the U.S. still die from these and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

It’s important to know which shots you need and when to get them. Visit the Student Health Services website for information on the wide array of vaccines we provide.

Here are some general guidelines for the vaccines you need:

  • Everyone age 6 months and older needs a seasonal flu shot every year.
  • Check your records to be sure your have been fully immunized against measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox.

Other shots work best when they are given at certain times.

  • All adults need a Td booster shot every 10 years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria, and should consider a Tdap booster to protect against whooping cough as well.  (The “p” in Tdap stands for pertussis, aka whooping cough)
  • First-year students should consider a meningitis shot if they have not had one since they turned 16.
  • HPV vaccines are only licensed up to age 26, and are best received early in your sexual life.

Talk to your doctor or nurse to find out other immunizations you may need. Go to our Events Calendar to get dates and times for our Flu Shot programs, and click on the date you choose to get more information

Here is a comment from a student who came to SHS for their flu shot – the flu shot clinic (was) very efficient and convenient since I did not have to schedule an appointment.”

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

Got Gip? Feeling Giddy? Need to visit the Loo, then the A&E?

Go for the Gold

London sightseeing

July 27th – the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics.  Are you packing your bags?  Before you go, take a look at these Tips for Healthy Travel from the CDC. 

Also, check those vaccine records – Measles is spreading in many European countries, including England.  A simple vaccination can protect you and avoid having you bring a infection back to share with friends along with your digital pictures of London Bridge. 

CDC urges that all travelers going to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games or Wimbledon in London (and to many other European destinations) be immunized against measles.  Usually, an MMR booster is all that would be needed, dependent on your previous vaccinations.

Don’t forget, Student Health Services offers comprehensive travel medicine visits for any destination, and will provide you with printed health and safety information for your reference.  We strongly encourage travelers to come in at least 6 weeks before their departure with ALL past immunization records if at all possible. 



Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services) 

But what if I WANT to get pregnant?

We spend a lot of time helping students figure out how to avoid getting pregnant, but there are a fair number of Lady Buckeyes out there who are ready to start planning a family, and they need good information too!  So in the spirit of fair play, here is a checklist of things you should do if you’re planning to get pregnant.

  • Be sure your vaccinations are up to date, especially MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella), Varicella (chickenpox) and Hepatitis B. Your unborn child can be harmed if you contract these infections while you are pregnant. These vaccines are part of the standard childhood immunization schedule, but you can make an appointment with Student Health Preventive Medicine to check your immunity if you aren’t sure whether you received them.
  • If you haven’t received a tetanus shot within the last 10 years, you should receive the Tdap (Tetanus-Diptheria-Pertussis) vaccine.
  • If you have any chronic health conditions, be sure to see your primary health care provider so she can review your medications and make sure your conditions are under optimal control.
  • Schedule a GYN exam. This will give your health care provider a chance to assess your overall health status, screen you for sexually transmitted infections, review your health and family history, and give you proper guidance for pregnancy planning.
  • Stop your birth control at least 3 months before you are planning to get pregnant. If you’ve been taking birth control pills, a pill-free break will allow you to go through several normal cycles before you conceive, which will make it easier to determine when ovulation occurred and to accurately estimate your due date. Your fertility may return to normal as early as two weeks after you stop taking the pill. If you are using Depo Provera, it may take several months for fertility to return.
  • Basal Body Temperature charting is a very useful tool for couples trying to conceive because of its ability to confirm ovulation. You need to use a basal thermometer, which is different than a regular thermometer. You can get them at most pharmacies.
  • Quit smoking, alcohol and recreation drugs.
  • Try to reach a healthy weight. Being overweight or underweight can make things more difficult before and during pregnancy. Ideally, your Body Mass Index (BMI) should be between 19 and 25. Check out this BMI calculator to figure out your BMI.
  • Try to eat a healthy and balanced diet. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you may need to add a Vitamin B12 supplement to your diet. Be sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider.
  • Start an exercise program now, even if it is just walking every day. You should aim for a goal of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.
  • Start taking a prenatal vitamin that contains 400 mcg of Folic Acid at least 3 months before you are planning to get pregnant. Folic acid deficiency can cause birth defects. These vitamins are available over-the-counter so you don’t need a prescription for them.
  • Avoid consuming a lot of fish, especially swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel and shark. These fish contain methyl mercury, which can harm the nervous system of your unborn child. You can eat up to 12 ounces a week of a variety of fish and shellfish, such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, Pollock and catfish. The FDA has a great website that tells you what foods to avoid during pregnancy.
  • Avoid raw and undercooked meat, unwashed fruits and vegetables, and dirty cat-litter boxes. All of these things can be infected with Toxoplasmosis gondii, which is harmful to your unborn baby. If you don’t have a cat, don’t get one. If you do, have someone else change the litter box, or at the very least wear disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately afterwards. Be sure to wear gloves when gardening.
  • If you or your partner work in an environment where you are exposed to X-rays, lead, mercury or chemicals, you should take extra precautions at work or explore options for moving to a different area. You can check out Ohio State’s Environment Health & Safety office if you have any questions about safety or hazards in your work place.

Li-Chun Liu, MSN
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

OSU Researcher gets Savage about HPV and throat cancer!

Dan Savage

Dan Savage is a journalist and advocate for LGBT rights who writes a syndicated relationship and sex advice column called Savage Love.  Last year, he started the internet-based It Gets Better project, whose goal is to prevent suicide among LGBT youth by having gay adults convey the message that these teens’ lives will improve.  He’s gotten multiple celebriteis to post a video message, including President Barack Obama.

Dan came to Ohio State in October where he he met Dr. Theodoros Teknos, Director of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery at the Arther G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.  They struck up a conversation about Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) – it’s relationship to oral sex and throat cancer risk, the vaccines that are available to prevent it, and what you need to know to keep yourself healthy.  

Dan interviewed Dr. Teknos for this week’s installment of his podcast, Savage Love Episode 270.  You should check it out; not only is the talk with Dr. Teknos really good but later on, Dan checks in with a gay college student who is dealing with coming out, suicide attempts, and being cut off by his family.

Just to warn you, Dan’s podcasts and columns are based on two main ingredients – his political views, and very frank discussions of sexuality in all of its varied forms.  They can be pretty strong and may not be to your taste.  But even if you don’t agree with everything he says, you can still learn something from the guy.  After all, he figured out that the best students and researchers in the world are right here at THE Ohio State University, so he’s got to be pretty smart, right?

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Book your flight, then book your travel visit with us!

The Wilce Student Health Center

Get your vaccination

Gorakhpur, India

Thinking of a trip out of the country during Winter or Spring Break?  Perhaps next summer?  Planning for a Education Abroad experience? Student Health Services offers visits for students traveling outside the United States.

By appointment: Call 614.292.4321 to schedule.  Be prepared with your travel dates and the countries you plan to visit when you call.

What to expect

  • Review of vaccination requirements and recommendations for updating your current immunizations.
  • Travel recommendations based on current health and safety precautions
  • Vaccinations can be initiated at the time of the initial consult/travel assessment


There is a nominal travel visit fee at Student Health Services.  There are also fees for immunizations, lab tests, medications, and post-travel illness screenings. We advise you to check with your health insurance carrier about coverage for these services. 


Protect yourself

Immunization is one of the most important medical precautions a person can take when traveling. The Wilce Student Health Center offers Travel Assessment/Consultation Appointments to guide you through the immunization process and help you understand the importance of protecting yourself.

How we can help

Our Travel Medicine providers use software that is continuously updated to determine immunizations that are needed for specific countries and regions, and provide you with printed instructions for ‘take along’ medications. We are a one-stop clinic. We can administer the immunizations and supply medications that may be required for travel.

Available immunizations

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR)
  • Meningitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Yellow Fever

When should I start my vaccinations

Travelers should call us to schedule an appointment as soon as they know that they will be taking a trip. Some vaccines may require a series of doses and therefore will require prior planning to meet vaccine-dosing schedules. Whenever possible, travelers should be seen a minimum of 6 weeks prior to departure.  

Post-travel medical care

Despite the best planning and preventive measures, accidents and illnesses can occur while traveling. Students with illnesses within a few months of travelling are strongly encouraged to come in for a post-travel medical visit.

What to bring to the appointment:

  • up-to-date vaccination records
  • current medications
  • recommendations from tour organizers
  • your list of questions

Did you get your travel recommendations from another clinic?  We can still give you the vaccines you need, if you bring a written order from your outside provider.

Injections normally start at the time of the Travel Assessment. Additional vaccinations can be scheduled separately as needed.

Health Tips:

  • Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Drink only bottled/boiled water, or carbonated drinks in cans or bottles, without ice.
  • Eat only cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself.
  • Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • Don’t handle animals.
  • Don’t swim in freshwater, salt water is usually safer.
  • Protect yourself from insects by remaining in screened areas, using insect repellent, and wearing long sleeves and pants.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, do not go barefoot.
  • Carry a backup supply of your prescription medications with you on your trip.
  • Be sure you are up-to-date on your vision, dental, and medical exams before leaving.

Please visit U.S. Department of State for up-to-date travel advisories and information regarding specific countries.

Don’t forget to send us a postcard!

Roger Miller, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Student Health FAQs for New Students

Fall at the Shoe

Fall Colors

We know you’re bombarded with a lot of information in a small amount of time during orientation and it’s hard to retain it all.  So we thought we’d put the highlights here on the blog so that you can read them now that you are settled in.  Feel free to stop in or call if you have any questions.


Our web site gives information on how insurance works at the Student Health Center, but you should learn the basics – in-network vs. out-of-network, how co-pays work, etc. – and be sure to carry your insurance ID card with you at school. Checking out your insurance plan’s website, either for the Student Health Insurance Plan or your own plan is a great idea. too.

If you are not on the Student Health Insurance Plan, you should definitely consider purchasing the WilceCare Supplement.  For only $187 for the entire academic year, it supplements the health insurance that you already have by providing prepaid coverage for medical care delivered at the Student Health Center.  Routine x-rays, laboratory tests, physical therapy, minor office procedures, prescribed medical supplies, office visits for illness and injury and prescriptions are all covered.

Medical Records

We are under strict rules to keep all of your medical information confidential and we take those rules very seriously.  You’ll need to sign an authorization form for us to release your health information to anyone, including your parents.  An authorization form can only be completed for health services that have already been rendered which means that we can’t honor any requests like, “you can just let my Mom have access to my records for as long as I’m at Ohio State.”


There are no immunization requirements for most students entering Ohio State.  However, there are some program-specific requirements (for instance, health professional schools like medicine and nursing may require you to get certain immunizations) so be sure to check with your program coordinator. To learn more about the immunizations offered at Student Health Services, visit our Prevention/Immunizations page, and check out the other pages there and the attached documents.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following immunizations for all college students: Meningococcal Meningitis for students living in the dorm, Hepatitis B, HPV, MMR, Polio, Varicella (Chickenpox), Tetanus-Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Whooping Cough).  Hepatitis A, Influenza, and Pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for students with specific health risk factors.

All of these immunizations are available at the Student Health Center if you aren’t able to get them before you start school, or if you still need to complete a series.  If you can get a copy of your Immunization records, that would be really helpful and keep you from getting immunizations you don’t need.   

Allergy Injections

You can get your allergy shots at the Student Health Center while you’re here for school.  You need to submit the required paperwork prior to scheduling an appointment.  You can bring the allergen vials to the health center yourself or have them mailed to our facility.  We will store them for you and we can release them back to you as needed for injections during times away from the university.


You can transfer a prescription from home to our pharmacy.  All you need is the prescription number and the name/phone number of the original pharmacy – all of which are on the package label.  Our pharmacy is contracted with many insurance companies but not all.  You can stop by or call 614-292-0125 to find out if we can bill your specific insurance.

Web Page

These are just some highlights.  Explore our web page and read some of our other BuckMD blog posts to learn about the huge variety of services offered by your Student Health Services, a division of the Office of Student Life.

Enjoy the beautiful fall colors on campus and welcome to Ohio State!

Remembering the Pandemic Flu


Get your vaccination

It was this time two years ago that we were bracing for the return of pandemic influenza to campus.  We had already dealt with cases in the spring.  Were we in for a “second wave”?  Everyone was asking:

  • “When are we getting the pandemic flu vaccine, and who should get it?”
  • “Should people get their ‘regular’ flu shot?”
  • “How disruptive would this be to classes, student activities, afternoons at the Shoe?”

We have since learned that we need to stay vigilant about influenza. Not just new strains, but even the seasonal flu, which causes:

  • more than 36,000 deaths every flu season, mostly in infants and the elderly
  • nearly a quarter of a million hospitalizations every year
  • millions of missed days at work or school

Influenza continues to plague us in an era when vaccinations have led to declines in many of the most deadly diseases in history.  Why?  Because influenza virus changes rapidly and often.  Many years we are challenged by new strains or ones we haven’t seen in a while so sometimes our flu season is worse than other years and this effects the strength of our seasonal vaccine.

So, what should you do about the flu???

  • Wash your hands
  • Get a flu vaccine once every fall
  • Avoid exposure to ill persons and avoid sharing your illness if you get sick
  • Maintain a good immune system by good diet and exercise
  • Wash your hands

Oh, did I say wash your hands twice?  Well, for good measure, once you are done surfing our blog on your laptop that two of your roommates borrowed when you were out, and is now sitting on your lap in a local coffee house, where your hands have come in contact with dozens of surfaces that can harbor virus particles, why don’t you go wash them a third time??!!!

Flu shots are available at Student Health now, and are just as effective early as they are late in protecting you this winter.  The price is reasonable, and the process is easy.  Watch our calendar for our big walk-in events, get a shot while you pick up medicines in our pharmacy, or call 614-292-4321 and schedule an appointment. 

Welcome back, and have a healthy year!

Roger Miller, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University