Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Campus prepares for flu season

With flu season here and thousands of students back on campus, campus health experts want to raise awareness of flu symptoms and prevention methods.

Fever, chills, sore throat, cough, runny nose, vomiting and diarrhea, body or muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue are all flu symptoms, according to Sam Alexander, executive director of the Health and Counseling Center at the University of Denver.

Getting vaccinated is the No. 1 flu prevention method and it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be effective, Alexander says. This year’s vaccine protects against H1N1 influenza, or, swine flu. It also protects against several other strains of the flu virus.

“The kind of flu season we will have is unpredictable, although it is likely that the 2009 H1N1 virus will continue to spread along with seasonal viruses this year,” Alexander says. “There is not expected to be any shortage of vaccine this year. The CDC projects that there will be 160–165 million doses available.”

DU students, faculty and staff have a number of options to get vaccinated on or near campus.

The vaccine is available at no cost to DU students at DU’s Health and Counseling Center, which is open Monday and Wednesday–Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. The center is open Tuesdays from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Driscoll Bridge also will host flu clinics every Wednesday from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. through the week of Thanksgiving.

The Walgreens at the northeast Corner of Downing and Evans offers flu shots for $29.99.  No appointments required. Pharmacy hours are Mon.– Fri. from 8 a.m.–10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m.–6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

The Safeway at 2150 S. Downing St. offers flu shots for $28 and a coupon for 10 percent off your next grocery purchase with each shot. Pharmacy hours are Mon.–Fri. from 9 a.m.–9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

“The flu spreads mainly by droplets made when people cough, sneeze, or talk,” Alexander says. “Less often, a person can get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.”

In addition to vaccination, there are many ways to avoid catching the flu, Alexander says wash your hands with soap and water frequently or use an alcohol-based hand rub, keep hands away from your face, and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.

Getting enough rest, eating well and exercising also help bolster the body’s immune system to prevent disease.

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