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Flu season is around the corner

College Health Service reminds community about prevention, care

Flu season is approaching and this year there is heightened concern over possible outbreaks of various viral infections, including avian flu. Dr. John Turco, Director of the Dartmouth College Health Service, recently sent a letter to students and employees addressing these concerns and reminding community members that there are many things they can do to avoid becoming ill.

"All of us need to do as much as we can not only to protect ourselves individually but also to protect our community from an outbreak of one of these viruses," he wrote.

The full text of Turco's letter, as well as information about preventing, diagnosing and treating upper respiratory infections, is available on the Health Service Web site.

Turco recommended that members of the Dartmouth community contact their healthcare providers to schedule a flu shot this fall, since supplies of vaccine are limited at the present time. Because the Health Service is the primary healthcare provider for students, Turco said that students will be the first to receive flu shots from the College. "In the past, we have been able to offer flu shots to students and to employees," he said, "but, since supplies are unpredictable, we will be using the vaccine we currently have to immunize students."

 Dartmouth Medical School students and Health Service employees will also be vaccinated since both groups come into close contact with patients. "When vaccines are in short supply," he said, "these are three groups of individuals who should be immunized, as specified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If more vaccine becomes available, we will be able to offer it more widely."

Flu shot clinics will be offered this year (see list below) and the Health Service will keep the community updated on the availability of vaccine. Dartmouth employees have several options," Turco said. "They can get flu shots from their primary care physicians or, if more vaccine becomes available, at the flu clinics at Dick's House or at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center."  For information on DHMC clinics, visit DHMC and click on "Flu."

 In the meantime, Turco stressed the importance of prevention and hygiene.

"If we individually and collectively practice good hygiene, get flu shots when available, take care of ourselves when illness occurs and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on when to stay home from work," Turco wrote, "we can minimize the chances that an upper respiratory viral outbreak will occur at Dartmouth this winter." The CDC guidelines can be found on their Web site.

The Health Service will provide updates about vaccine availability and keep the community informed as necessary with other information about worldwide flu developments.

By LAUREL STAVIS

FLU SHOT CLINICS AT DARTMOUTH

For Dartmouth students only, undergraduate and graduate:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 8, 10 a.m--2 p.m., Tindle Lounge
  • Thursday, Nov. 10, 9:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m., Dick's House Library
  • Sign in is required

For Dartmouth employees, depending upon available supply of flu vaccine:

  • Monday, Nov. 14, (for faculty, staff and students still needing vaccine) 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Novak Café, Baker-Berry Library
  • Monday, Nov. 21, (faculty and staff only) 8 a.m.- 4 p.m., Dick's House Library
  • Sign in is required

TIPS ON AVOIDING FLU AND OTHER UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS

  • Wash your hands often, using hot water and soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Keep your hands away from your nose, eyes or mouth.
  • Do not share cups, water botles, mouth guards, etc.
  • Cough into your arm, not your hand.
  • Sneeze into a disposable tissue.

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 12/17/08