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How to avoid the flu: Health Center gives tips on ways to avoid getting sick

By Bitania Yemane, News Editor

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     The spring semester has just begun and it is important that students start the new year healthy as flu season approaches. The Student Health Center at Bloomsburg University has a staff that does its best in ensuring that all students on and off campus have a resource that can provide them with information in ways that they can get help when they get sick. Nurse Supervisor Suzanna Sherlinski and Health & Wellness Educator Kristi Hammaker give important information about the flu, how a student can prevent it and what to do if a student gets ill from it.

     According to the CDC, “the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes in the lungs,” and the best way to avoid it is by getting a flu shot each year.

     “We push for vaccines in the beginning of the fall,” said Sherlinski. The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions like staying away from people who are sick; covering coughs and sneezes and frequent hand washing to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses, like flu.”

     Currently the health center is not giving out the shot but they will return with vaccines next fall since they had a successful turnout last semester.
“We tried to shoot for 10%,” said Hammaker, “We gave 700 doses of free flu vaccine in the Fall 2017 semester and we’re going to order more next semester”

     If students call about getting a vaccination this semester, the Student Health Center will refer them to reach out to their healthcare provider or a local pharmacy.

     “We are currently referring students to check with the local Pharmacies in the area. As of 1/29/18, there are some that still have the flu vaccine.
Another way that Hammaker and Sherlinski suggest in preventing the flu is to cover your cough, washing your hands with warm water and soap and to use hand sanitizers on the regular.

     The Student Health Center encourages students to call the office if they are unsure if they have the flu or any other sickness rather just walking in.
“The first thing a student should do is to call and they can also speak to a triage nurse who will assist them and give them guidance on what they should do and the student can then make an appointment,” said Sherlinski. We also encourage students to put masks on when entering the Health Center if they have the symptoms.”

       How the Student Health Center handles each phone call depends on the student’s symptoms.“This is not a standardized process, “said Hammaker, “the process may change depending on the student’s condition. We have to look at the student’s past medical history if they had asthma, diabetes, or anything else so it depends. We make sure that we touch base with every student that reaches out to us.”

     Students are more likely to get sick at school than being at home so it is important that students contact their healthcare provider or the Student Health Center if they feel any symptoms of the flu.

      “On average students who get the flu miss about 8 days of class on the national level,” said Hammaker, “this can cause them to fail. If you are unsure just call, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

     Any student who wishes to reach the Student Health Center can call for an appointment or call a triage nurse for instructions.

Telephone extension numbers are: x3800 – x5055 – x2722








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How to avoid the flu: Health Center gives tips on ways to avoid getting sick