The American Pharmacists Association and Bikram Health Center helped keep the campus safe and healthy by offering free flu vaccines along with holiday treats.
Registered nurse Chelsea Sykes assisted students who wanted flu shots by collecting their contact and insurance card information in the Robinson Quad. While Sykes helped the students with their information, second year pharmacy students and APhA members Robin Rodriguez, Hailey Flood and Ryley Farwell gave out flu shots and doughnuts.
Rodriguez learned about the importance of having a pharmacist in the community while giving out vaccines in the past and decided she wanted to help the campus community as well.
“Our biggest goal was making it easy and accessible for students… so that way people don’t have to go to the doctor for that,” Rodriquez said.
Flu season typically lasts from December through May, but people can get the flu at any time of the year. Flu rates are highest during the winter, so getting the flu shot before winter arrives will prepare the body to have a good immune response.
Although flu shots are easily overlooked as unnecessary, Interim Director and women’s health nurse practitioner Christy Bourdlais has seen research that says that, while the flu shot doesn’t completely avoid sickness, they will make cases less severe.
“The severity of the illness can actually be quite worse than Covid,” Bourdlais said. “So the flu shot is one of those that can prevent you from getting sick, but also if you are exposed with the flu, typically your symptoms are not as severe.”
Common symptoms of the flu are fever, chills, body aches and a severe sore throat. Gastrointestinal side effects like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can also occur.
With the fall season quickly turning into winter, Bourdlais has noticed that both the flu and allergies are affecting people, and it can be difficult to differentiate between the two.
“If you know that you are an allergy person and it makes sense that you would have allergies according to the season… I would say it makes sense [to assume you are experiencing allergies],” Bourdlais said. “If you feel fine and [are] not running a fever, mask up and keep your distance from people, but if you are feverish, and coughing and hacking all over the place, stay home. Just [use] a general sense of awareness of your body.”
Appointments for flu shots at the Birkam Health Center can be scheduled online at the Healthy Dog Portal or over the phone.