President George Ross, Provost Gary Shapiro get flu shots, spread flu season awareness

Taylor Ballek/ Staff Photographer Nurse Supervisor, Lora Zenz prepares to give President Ross his annual flu shot Thursday morning at Foust Hall. "Do I get a sucker after this?" asked Ross.

University President George Ross and Provost Gary Shapiro were among a small group to get their respective flu shots Thursday at Foust Hall.

Shapiro said he gets his flu shot every fall and hasn't gotten the flu each year he's had the shot.

"If you don't mind being sick, you don't need to get a shot," he said. "Why not get a flu shot?"

The Influenza Virus, commonly known as the flu, can be spread by coughing and sneezing, as well as touching a surface that is contaminated with the virus then rubbing or touching your eyes, nose or mouth. The virus can also be spread the day before sickness occurs and up to seven days after feeling sick.

Flu season lasts from October to May, and the peak for the season is usually in February. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, headaches and body aches among others.

Assistant Director of Business for Health Services Angela Smith said seeing the president and provost get a flu shot should show students to get a flu shot this fall and every year, too.

"It sends a message that their health is important," she said. "If you're ill, it makes it difficult to do your work and your studies."

She said since many students are in close quarters, the virus is more easily spread.

Students can get vaccinated at Foust Hall, and the shot costs $30, which is covered by most health insurance policies, Smith said.

Smith said CMU Health Services gave 753 flu vaccinations last year and there have been spikes in the past in the number of students who get vaccinated such as during the H1N1 Virus scare.

"When there's not a shortage (of the influenza vaccination), we see a steady number of people coming for shots," she said.

Along with increased awareness of the influenza virus, the Health Services department is also offering meningitis vaccines. A student passed away earlier this year from a meningitis infection.

According to Health Services information, it is recommended that everyone have at least one shot before age 21. The ages most common for a meningitis infection is between 16 and 21.


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