January 30, 2013

Health Center Prepares to Fight the Flu

The Health Center encourages students to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible and use Flu Report if they develop flu symptoms.

Mary Polson, director of health services, explained that contrary to rumors, students were not required to have been vaccinated before returning to campus.

“We can’t require it, though I’d like to,” she said. “Students can still come here to get it.”

There are about 60 shots remaining from the clinics held last semester. It costs $15 to get a shot; students must call to make an appointment and can usually be seen on the same day they call.

“You should get vaccinated soon because it takes seven to 10 days to become effective,” added Polson.

Flu Report, an email address dedicated to tracking the spread of flu at Dickinson College, has recorded seven cases on campus and four cases of students who stayed home due to the illness.

“That’s a low rate compared to national levels,” said Polson. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] says that H3N2 [this year’s virus] may have already peaked in New England and the Northeast.”

Polson said that Flu Report sends information to Academic Advising, Residential Life and the Health Center.

“Professors are contacted by the Provost, but students also need to let their professors know that they’re sick,” she said. “We encourage the professors to be lenient and compassionate with students with the flu.”

Residential Life arranges for self-care kits to be left at the door to sick students’ rooms. These kits include hand sanitizer, a mask, medicine and a thermometer. Students can also receive a bag with soup, crackers, oatmeal and tea if they do not wish to eat a full meal.

“Students can also call Dining Services and choose items from the menu to be given to a friend who brings their ID card to the Dining Hall,” added Polson.