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