Boynton offers variety of services

Josh Linehan

In the busy back-to-school world of dorms, grades, classes and jobs, many students overlook their health.
Some students simply forget their medical checkup. Others might not know how to set up a flu shot or where to go for help with clinical depression.
Help for all these problems and more are available at the University, some of them for free or at a reduced cost to students.
Flu shots
A flu shot might not help with 8 a.m. lectures, blizzards or a monotone professor, but it might prevent that persistent hacking cough teamed with an upset stomach.
Beginning in mid-October, Boynton Health Service will offer flu shots to students through a series of special clinics. No appointments will be necessary, and the shots are free to students enrolled in six or more credits, because student service fees pay for the shots.
Sheryl Daubenberger, director of nursing at Boynton, said the clinics are aimed toward immunizing students who normally would not get flu shots.
“They won’t need to make an appointment, so we hope that will encourage all students to come in and get an influenza immunization,” Daubenberger said. “Until the very recent past, it wasn’t really encouraged for young, healthy people to get flu shots. We now know that anyone can benefit from an influenza immunization.”
Flu shots are currently available from Boynton with an appointment, but for a small fee.
Pap smears
Although gynecological cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women today, early diagnosis through an annual Pap smear can save lives.
Developed in the 1940s, Pap smears have been credited with reducing cervical cancer more than 70 percent.
Although Boynton is not offering any events in association with the first annual Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month in September, the clinic does offer Pap smears year-round with appointments. Exams are free for students with six credits or more.
All women are encouraged to get a Pap smear test annually, said Pamela Smith of Boynton’s Women’s Health Clinic.
“We do recommend a test at least once a year — even for college-aged women,” Smith said.
In addition to its health benefits, Pap smears are sometimes required for other women’s health services.
“If you are on birth control of any kind, you must make an appointment for an annual Pap smear to continue receiving your birth control, ” Smith said.
Depression screening
Although it is one of the most difficult kinds of illness to diagnose and treat, clinical depression affects many college students.
As part of a national screening day on Oct. 7, the University will offer free depression screening on campus.
Depression screening is especially important for college students for several reasons, said Mary Early-Zald, a University staff psychologist.
“I think college students often slip through the cracks because they often don’t have access or make use of their health resources,” Early-Zald said.
She also encouraged new students to attend the screenings. Often clinical depression is dismissed as normal emotions for college-age adults, she said.
“Many students are told they’re just homesick or having growing pains. While that might be the case, the student might also be very ill,” Early-Zald said.
Problems also arise with the dual meaning of the word depression.
While many people say “depressed” to indicate a melancholy mood, clinical depression is a completely different mental state.
“Depression as a mood is one thing, but clinical depression is a serious illness, and it requires treatment,” Early-Zald said. “Many people with clinical depression are afraid to go to a professional for help, so we encourage anyone with any questions at all to attend the screenings.”

Josh Linehan covers science and technology and welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4080 x3212.