Health official advises flu vaccinations

by Cati Vanden Breul

The number of flu cases at the University is increasing, said one Boynton Health Service official.

Dave Golden, a spokesman for the service, encouraged students to get vaccinated.

Although not every Minnesotan who wanted a flu shot could get one at the beginning of this flu season, there is now enough vaccine available for everyone who wants a shot, said Karen Martin, an epidemiologist in the Minnesota Department of Health’s vaccine-preventable disease department.

All University students who paid the Student Services Fee can get a free flu shot at Boynton.

“A lot of students started hitting us again this week” for flu shots, Golden said.

Martin said getting a flu shot in the middle of flu season will still provide some protection from the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the flu season could go on for a few more months.

University Housing and Residential Life Program Director Grant Anderson said he is not aware of any serious flu outbreaks in the residence halls or other University housing units, but if one did occur, he said University Housing and Residential Life would respond quickly.

“We would make sure University officials became aware of it, and rely on the steps of professionals to take care of the students,” he said.

Although there was a flu vaccine shortage in the fall, Anderson said he has not heard much concern from students or parents about the disease.

The best flu cure is to “take over-the-counter medications, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids,” Golden said.

“But when students get the flu, they should expect to feel really crummy for at least a couple of weeks,” he said.

University second-year student Katie Koslucher got the flu during finals week last semester.

“It started with an upset stomach, and it felt like I had to throw up. Then I couldn’t stop,” Koslucher said.

When she went to the hospital, she was given medication and told to drink a lot of fluids.

“Then I slept a lot,” Koslucher said.

Because of an increasing demand for flu shots, Boynton will hold a walk-in immunization clinic Feb. 2.