September kicks off flu shot clinics on campus

Sept. 23, 2013

University Health Services (UHS) is reminding members of the campus community to get a flu shot — the single best thing you can do to stay healthy and prevent spreading the flu.

"Getting a flu shot is about protecting yourself and protecting those around you," says Sarah Van Orman, executive director of UHS. "Some people may think that they don't need a flu shot because they never get sick, or think the flu isn't that bad, but even healthy people can get sick enough to miss school or work for a significant amount of time."

And although most of us can fight off the flu with self-care methods, some are at higher risk. "People with certain medical conditions are more susceptible to serious complications from the flu," says Van Orman. "By getting your annual flu shot, you're contributing to a healthier community overall and protecting your family and friends who may be more vulnerable."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu shot every year. The virus can cause mild to severe illness, leading to time away from school, work and other activities. Typical symptoms include fever, sore throat and/or dry cough, runny nose, headaches, body aches and extreme fatigue.

Although getting a flu shot is the single best way to prevent the flu, simple practices such as regularly washing your hands with soap and water, not sharing food, drinks, or utensils, and avoiding touching your hands to your face can significantly reduce your chances of catching the flu, cold or other illnesses.

Student flu shot clinics

The first flu shot clinic of the year for students will be held on Sept. 27 at the Gordon Dining and Event Center from noon to 5 p.m. Students can walk in at any time and get their flu shot — no appointment is needed.

If students can't make it to the first clinic, walk-in flu shots at UHS will begin Monday, Sept. 30, and will be available through Friday, Nov. 15; students are encouraged to get their flu shot earlier, rather than later. Walk-in student flu shot clinics will also be held at three other locations on campus.

Student flu shots are free and given by UHS because they're covered by the Student Health Fee. As an alternative to the injectable vaccine, FluMist is available for a fee.

Faculty/staff flu shot clinics

As in previous years, UW-Madison employees will have the option to receive their flu shots from Home Health United nursing staff as part of the university's efforts to promote health and wellness on campus.

A full list of clinics for faculty/staff is available on the UHS website.

Employees are asked to bring their health insurance card to the flu shot clinic. If they have Dean Care, Group Health Cooperative, Physicians Plus or Unity, payment will be processed directly to that health insurance provider. Otherwise, there will be a fee of $30 for the shot or $32 for FluMist (payable by cash, check, Visa or MasterCard). A receipt will be provided to submit to the health insurance provider for possible reimbursement.