Fighting the flu at GVSU
Managing busy schedules while maintaining your health can be difficult to achieve as college students. The flu can come about when preventative measures are not practiced on a regular basis, so health officials are urging students to take precautionary measures to ensure a strong immune system and not spread the flu virus to other fellow students.
Heather Rhodes, office manager at Metro Health in Allendale and on Grand Valley State University’s campus, said that getting flu shots are highly recommended among college-aged students.
“College students are living in a small area with new people that share such a small space,” Rhodes said. “A lot of college students get a lack of sleep and are not hydrated, so their immune systems can get low. When this happens, the more likely it is for a student to get the flu if they’re exposed it.”
Rhodes added that if a student doesn’t decide to get the flu shot, other measures can be taken. This includes proper hand hygiene, to not share straws or chap stick, as well as to avoid touching any sort of entrance point on the body.
Matthew Boyd, a doctor at Metro Health in Allendale said it’s also important for students to isolate themselves from people who are sick.
“If you feel like you’re coming down with the flu, don’t go to class and get everyone else sick,” Boyd said. “Go to the doctors and get yourself checked out. Do not spread the sickness to everyone.”
Rhodes said that an individual doesn’t necessarily have to get a flu shot annually, but in the college environment it is strongly encouraged. In addition, she said that if you work in the health care field or with people who are sick, it is also important to get a flu shot.
“Last year, we didn’t have a very big flu season, but it definitely varies from year to year,” Rhodes said. “Often times other illnesses can mimic the flu, such as mono.”
The main flu months are considered to be January and February, and oftentimes the health care center has to bump the flu-shot order when it gets busier, Rhodes said.
“We try to market the center as much as possible to inform students on how to access our services,” Rhodes said.
At the Health Care Center on GVSU’s Allendale Campus, a flu shot costs $20-25 for students who don’t have insurance. In addition, the administration fee, which is a fee for the doctor injecting you, is $31. Rhodes said that self-pay patients, or students without insurance, qualify for a 40 percent discount at the center, which would make the shot only $12.60 plus the administration fee. Those who do have insurance, she added, are usually covered for flu shots.
For more information on flu shots or for other health concerns, call the health care center directly at (616) 252-6030.