UC partnered with the Oneida County Health Department to run a disease outbreak simulation.
Derek Hamilton, Staff Writer
With winter approaching, so is flu season. The influenza virus is changing quite frequently due to many different factors in its makeup and environment. Therefore, vaccines also keep being updated to combat the different types of flu currently existing.
The health center at UC annually offers flu shots to the students for this reason. Dawn DeGironimo, nurse practitioner, said that “with a particular season, there are shifts or drifts in the flu that is circulating so it is hard to say if it is getting worse.”
Along with the elevated risk from living in a close community the Center for Disease Control warns that anyone with asthma, diabetes, sickle cell, a high body mass index and several other pre-existing medical issues is at high risk. The risk also goes up for children 2-years-old and younger as well for adults 65 years of age and older.
Olivia Hall was one of the students who received a flu shot this year. She needed the vaccine because, on top of being asthmatic. In addition, it was required as part of her occupational therapy program.
“It’s been drilled into my brain that I need to get it because I am more susceptible to getting the flu,” she said.
Another student who could make the clinic was Emily Downing. She said the flu shot is something that she has always gotten, even before she was required by her occupational therapy program.
“It’s better safe than sorry,” she said. “You either get it or risk getting the flu.”
Over the last couple of years, the flu count has been down likely due to widespread availability of the flu shot. This year though sporadic cases of the flu virus have been popping up in New York State making the chances of catching the flu slightly higher.
Those who get vaccinated have a low chance of catching for themselves and spreading the flu virus to others.
Though there is not much time in between the flu seasons, changes can happen quickly making individuals susceptible to the flu.
“If you feel ill with flu-like symptoms such as coughing, body aches, sore throat and fever 101 or more please stay home till they have resolved to prevent the spread of the flu or illness in general,” DeGironimo said.
In addition to the flu shot, good hygiene is an excellent way to prevent from catching the flu and protect others from the disease.
UC has hosted its flu shot clinic already and last Wednesday, Nov. 6, 75 students participated in a Point of Distribution (POD) exercise designed to “simulate a communicable disease outbreak on campus.”
UC partnered with the Oneida County Health Department to run the event which took place in the Carbone Family Auditorium in the Economic Crime, Justice Studies and Cybersecurity building.
Students who volunteered were given a flu shot in an attempt to test triage, flow of patients and “how quickly and efficiently patients can be vaccinated,” according to the news release.