Remind your son or daughter it’s too early to assume he or she won’t get the flu this season. Vaccines are still available at The Cosiano Health Center, 120 W. Foulke Ave., just around the corner from the bookstore.
It’s enough to make a parent lose sleep! The national media attention to this winter’s flu epidemic sends a disturbing message to families of college students! First, you have a young adult probably living on their own for the first time. Second, your young adult may be burning the candle at both ends, which can lead to a weak immune system, and third, your student may be far away from familiar medical care and a source of medications and other flu “supplies.”
Luckily, the UF campus seems to have been spared the brunt of the flu, according to Julie Yingling, RN, director of campus health services. Yingling credits the low numbers, in part, to an aggressive campaign to get the flu vaccine to all students, faculty and staff. More than 1,200 doses of the flu vaccine have been dispensed so far.
“Most of the students told us that their parents encouraged them to get the shot,” adds Yingling.
During the winter months, students spend more time indoors and in close contact with others in dorms, apartments, classrooms and at social gatherings. This causes germs to spread. . . and it’s not just the flu! Most illnesses run their course in healthy young adults, but is there a time when parents should be concerned?
“Students should see a physician for any symptoms lasting longer than 72 hours,” says Yingling. “That’s 72 hours, even if they are being treated.” Yingling also adds that, typically, college students don’t take good care of themselves. They’re stressed over grades and schedules, don’t use proper hygiene, and have a poor diet. It’s no wonder that they succumb to winter’s onslaught of illnesses!
The Health Center is well prepared to join students in their quest to stay healthy this season. There are three registered nurses on staff as well as an administrative assistant. A physician is at the Center three hours a day from Monday-Friday.
If your student does show symptoms, whether flu-like or a bad cold, help is near. . . and free! The Cosiano Health Center is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. (Students can contact their RA’s after hours.) All Health Center services are provided at no charge, including over-the-counter medicines for common ailments.
There’s no reason why any student at UF should have to face the flu (or any illness) alone. . . still, a phone call or care package from home is always a good idea!