Being up-to-date on your annual flu shot and other vaccines is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every year, the flu spreads across college campuses nationwide. Close living quarters, shared restrooms and many social activities make a college student more likely to catch the flu. Whether one is studying in the library, attending an event or hanging out with one's suitemate in the residence halls, students are in close contact with others and therefore even more susceptible to the flu.
The flu is a viral illness that is most common in the fall and winter months. This is a very contagious illness that is transmitted by droplets that are released when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even talks in close proximity to others. People can also get sick by touching their nose or mouth after coming in contact with a contaminated surface such as a doorknob, table or someone else's hand. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) most studies have shown that the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for up to 48 hours after being deposited on a surface.
Symptoms of the flu include, but are not limited to, fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, feeling weak and tired, headache, chills, body aches, vomiting or diarrhea. Not everyone will experience the flu the same way or have all these symptoms but most who have the flu feel unwell. You should see your Healthcare provider or call Kean University’s Student Health Services (SHS) if you have a fever or other flu-like symptoms. The flu can have serious complications including shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in the chest, sudden dizziness, and confusion or vomiting; these are all situations that require emergency medical care. Most healthy people recover from the flu with rest, non-caffeinated fluids and medications to control fever. The use of antiviral medications can be discussed with your healthcare provider or SHS.
If you do have the flu or flu-like symptoms, stay at home and rest. Cover your nose or mouth with a tissue or your arm when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of tissues in the trash immediately and wash your hands with soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. To decrease your risk of acquiring the flu continue to social distance, which simply means keeping a distance of at least six feet between yourself and others.
Getting the flu vaccine every year is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting and spreading the flu. The flu vaccine is available at many retail pharmacies, primary care providers and health departments. SHS has collaborated with Community Medical Urgent Care to provide flu vaccines to the Kean community as well as other commonly required immunizations. With most health insurance plans, the vaccine is low to no cost and if you do not have health insurance, the vaccine is only $30. Community Medical Care accepts most major health insurance plans, but for more information call them at (908) 994-1500.
To attend a flu vaccine clinic, all students must register through Cougar Link and all students, faculty and staff must register for an appointment time via the doodle poll associated with the date of the event. You must pick a date that you are already on campus. All attendees will be required to wear a mask and social distancing guidelines will be enforced.
Community Medical Urgent Care will be on campus at the Kean Wellness Center located in the Downs Hall Conference center on the following dates:
- Tuesday, Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Thursday, Oct. 1 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Wednesday, Oct. 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Additional flu clinics may be coming soon in collaboration with Union County.
If you have more questions, regarding policies, students can contact SHS at (908) 737-4880. Faculty and staff can contact Human Resources at (908) 737-3300. You can also receive reliable updates at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm
Article courtesy of Student Health Services.
For more information on Student Health Services (SHS), check out their webpage on the Kean website.