A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 900,000 people were hospitalized and 79,000 died in the US during the 2017-18 flu season. Some hospitalizations and deaths were due to relative complications with the flu.

Entering the annual flu season, Benedictine College is taking precautions by providing an on-campus flu vaccination session earlier this month. The vaccinations were held in the first-floor lobby of the St. John Paul II Student Center.

Students in the Nursing program at Benedictine College give vaccinations to students and family members in the first floor of the St. John Paul II Student Center. Photo by Elexis Thom.

The Kex Rx Pharmacy in Atchison, KS provided the flu shots and handled the billing of the transactions, while Benedictine nursing students were present to administer the vaccines. Pharmacist Joe Koechner, owner of the Kex Rx pharmacy in town, said the clinic is open to students, faculty, staff or family members of the school.

Koechner explained participants must provide an insurance card and fill out a questionnaire prior to receiving the vaccine. He said those who are very young or old have the highest risk of complications from influenza.

“Their immune systems are weaker, they’ll be more susceptible to complications from that virus,” Koechner said.

Janet Adrian, the director of student health at Benedictine, offered further recommendations for preventing sickness. 

“I can’t stress the importance of handwashing, occasionally wiping down your handles in your dorm room, coughing in your elbow: all those things…help with the prevention,” Adrian said. “And, of course, getting…the influenza vaccine.” 

The daily habits of a college student lends itself to situations which make some health precautions tedious. 

“Certainly, during this time of the year, we need to drink more water,” Adrian said. “We need to eat healthy. We need to sleep better.”  

Adrian also mentioned these health necessities are not always a priority in the life of a student due to school and extracurricular activities.

The flu virus is more severe than the common cold. Flu symptoms can include fever,  dehydration, headache, congestion, and sneezing. Additional complications include pneumonia and asthma flare-ups. 

If symptoms of the flu are present, the Student Health building on campus offers walk-ins and can further refer instructions.  

Health care professionals continue to advise people to take proper concern for their wellbeing. They urge everyone to be responsible about their own health, get the vaccine, and take simple steps toward preventing the spread of influenza.