|by Jim Amidon • October 12, 2006|
October means the start of the influenza season and this year Wabash hopes to avoid a widespread outbreak of the flu. According to College Nurse Carol Lamb and Dr. John Roberts ’83, the best way to avoid such an outbreak is a preventative flu vaccination.
The College will be hosting Lafayette Visiting Nurse on three separate days in the next few weeks to provide at-cost vaccinations for the Wabash community.
"The single best way to prevent the flu is to be vaccinated each fall," said Lamb. "Anyone who wants to resist the flu should get vaccinated unless they are allergic to eggs. Vaccines can prevent infection seven to nine out of 10 healthy people under the age of 65."
Vaccinations, at a cost of $17, will be available October 25 from 9:00 a.m. through 11:30 a.m. in the Sparks Center Fobes Lounge. On Thursday, October 26, the nurses will be stationed in Baxter Hallâ€™s Rogge Lounge from 9:00 a.m. through 11:30. The nurses will be back on campus Wednesday, November 1 from 9:00 a.m. through 11:30 in the Fobes Lounge of Sparks Center.
"Other than having an egg allergy, there really is no good reason not to get a flu shot," said Dr. Roberts. "It not only protects you against influenza but also lowers the incidence of colds by about 30 percent. Students are particularly vulnerable to influenza because of living in close quarters, so it's well worth $17 to avoid contracting influenza just before finals or during comps."
Student-athletes are at particular risk because of physical exhaustion and being in close proximity of other student-athletes.
Lamb says there's no truth to the notion that flu vaccines can cause the flu. "It's a myth that the flu shot causes the flu," she said. "The vaccine you receive is not a live virus, therefore, cannot ˜giveâ you the flu."
Nurse Lamb also suggests a few good health habits to prevent spreading influenza throughout living units and classrooms:
"Avoid close contact and stay home when you are sick, and make sure to notify the health center," she said. "Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Clean your hands often, wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth."