Health Services brings ‘Kiss Me I’m Vaccinated’ to GSU

Lauren Gorla

The flu season is approaching, and health professionals across campus are urging students to get vaccinated by announcing the “Kiss Me, I’m Vaccinated” campaign.

Every Tuesday and Thursday from Oct. 2nd thru Nov. 7th, flu vaccinations will be given on campus in different locations for $5 for students and $10 for faculty and staff members.

“It’s better to get vaccinated sooner than later because it takes about two weeks to build up antibodies in your body after vaccination to actually prevent against the flu,” Ali Shropshire, family nurse practitioner-board certified at the Georgia Southern University Health Center, said.

By getting a flu shot, patients can keep themselves from getting sick and missing at least two weeks of class or work.

“The virus will multiply for about five days and another five to 10 days to get over it, plus you’re very contagious in the first 48 hours,” Teresa Cheney, nurse practitioner-board certified and nursing clinic director, said.

“What we’re doing here at health services is looking at how a mass media campaign can impact the vaccination rate among students,” Cheney said.

Appointments can also be made year-round to receive the flu shot at the Health Services building using MyGeorgiaSouthern, but walk-ins are also accepted.

In 2011, the health clinic was able to increase the vaccination rate by over 25 percent.  There was also a 55 percent decrease in flu diagnoses on campus, Shropshire said.

Katie Thatcher, physician’s assistant, certified, at the health services clinic also shared her personal experience with the flu when she was a student at GSU.

“I got the flu when I was 18, and I was sick as a dog.  I’ve gotten the shot every year since,” Thatcher said.

Students of the School of Nursing also expressed their concern about the importance of getting vaccinated against the flu.

Amanda Sharp, junior nursing major, said she thought that the vaccine was necessary.

“We all live in close proximity and everyone is around each other, especially freshmen living in dorms,” Sharp said.

“Stress can load your immune system so you’re more susceptible to catch the flu,” Ellie Finch, junior nursing major, said.

The Zach S. Henderson Library staff is also taking their own measures to inform students about the flu and prevent it from spreading.  In addition to regularly wiping down keyboards and having hand sanitizer easily accessible, the staff is looking to place printouts at the front desk from the Center for Disease Control about the flu.

“We want to bring the flu season to the students attention. That time of year is coming,” Ruth Baker, Learning Commons supervisor, said.

The flu season typically begins around Oct. and will last until March, but the most active months for the flu are Jan. and Feb.  Touching infected objects or inhaling respiratory droplets that spray when a person coughs or sneezes most commonly spreads the flu virus, Shropshire said.

The symptoms of the flu include fever, body ache, shaking, chills, coughing and runny nose.  Sometimes these symptoms can be misleading and cause a patient to believe that they have contracted the flu when in reality they only have a cold or bronchitis.

“If you can keep on doing what you’re doing, then you don’t have the flu,” Cheney said.

The flu makes a patient feel like a total wimp, Cheney said.

Cheney said, seek medical attention as soon as the symptoms manifest and remember that the key time to go to the doctor is 48 to 72 hours after symptoms begin showing in the patient.