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Who did you get your flu shot for?

Who did you get your flu shot for?

Do you want to help your friends, family, roommates and co-workers stay healthy? A flu shot not only helps prevent you from getting the flu, it also protects everyone in the community.

When you get a flu shot, you protect those you live with. You also help protect:

  • People who live in close quarters such as residence halls
  • Those with chronic illnesses and pregnant women who are at high-risk for flu related complications
  • Individuals who have a weakened immune system
  • People who are unable to get a vaccine, for example, people with allergies to the vaccine or any ingredient in it
  • Babies younger than 6 months of age who are too young to get a flu vaccine
  • Elderly people who are at a greater risk for getting ill from the flu

Cougs help Cougs stay well — and that means getting a flu vaccine.

Health & Wellness Services is giving flu shots every Friday from September 29 – October 27 between 10 am – 3 pm, in the Washington Building, room G41. Bring your insurance card.

Flu or cold? Know the symptoms

Cold versus flu

All of the sudden, something hits you, you have a headache, your body aches, you develop a cough… Is it the flu or is it a cold? Do you need to see the doctor? Sometimes it’s hard to know if you have a cold or your symptoms are flu related.

Viruses cause both colds and flus, so the symptoms are similar. Flu symptoms usually come on all of a sudden and are more severe than a cold, while cold symptoms come on more gradually.

Flu symptoms:

  • Sudden onset
  • Fever greater than 101 degrees
  • Cough
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Chills, fatigue
  • Deep muscle and/or joint aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/ or diarrhea

Cold symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny and/or stuffy nose, sneezing
  • Feeling tired
  • Mild cough
  • Mild fever

The flu can have severe complications, so it’s good to know when to see a doctor.

If your cold symptoms last longer than 10 – 14 days and are getting worse or not improving you should see a healthcare provider.

If you have a mild flu or cold, learn how to manage your symptoms at home.

If you need advice on over-the-counter medication to take, visit our pharmacy or call 509-335-5742.

Lower your chances of contracting the flu by getting a flu vaccine.

When to see your doctor

Even if you get your flu shot and practice good health habits, it’s still possible to get sick. If you happen to get the flu despite being vaccinated, a flu shot may help make symptoms milder.

When you’re sick with the flu, the best thing to do is stay home and avoid contact with other people. According to the university policy on absences, instructors cannot require written excuses from health care professionals. If your instructor asks for a note, you can provide our letter on excused student absences.

Make sure you seek medical care if:

  • Your temperature is greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Your symptoms do not improve
  • Your breathing becomes difficult
  • You experience pain in your chest or stomach
  • You become dizzy or lightheaded
  • You are vomiting and can’t keep fluids down

Most healthy people don’t need antiviral medicines for treating influenza. They are different from antibiotics in that they kill viruses, not bacteria. When treatment starts within twp days of the beginning of your symptoms, antivirals can help make symptoms milder and shorten your illness. If your doctor prescribes antiviral medication, be sure to take them as directed.

Make sure you know the difference between cold and flu symptoms and how to manage symptoms at home!

If you are unsure about your symptoms, you can call our 24-hour nurse line at 509-335-3575.

The best way to lower your chances of contracting the flu is by getting a flu vaccine.

Flu facts

Flu Facts

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated.

Flu vaccines cannot cause influenza. Flu viruses used in vaccines are not live, therefore unable to cause the flu.

Getting a flu shot is the number one way to prevent the flu. If you get the flu vaccine, you are about 60 percent less likely to need treatment for the flu. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone six months of age and older get a flu shot.

A flu shot can help you stay well and prevent serious complications. The flu can cause you to miss school or work. Flu shots helped reduce flu-related hospitalizations by 71 percent during the 2011- 2012 flu season. If you happen to get the flu despite getting a vaccine, a flu shot may help make symptoms milder.

The earlier you get your flu shot, the better. It takes about two weeks to develop antibodies that protect against the flu. Flu season runs from October to May, and getting vaccinated in the fall can help you stay well in the spring.

Get your vaccine at one of our Flu Shot Friday events or by visiting our medical clinic.

7 healthy habits for preventing flu

7 healthy habits for preventing flu

Getting a vaccine is the number one way to prevent the flu, but practicing good health habits can also help stop the spread of flu, colds, and other viruses.

To stay healthy and prevent the flu from spreading, we recommend Cougs practice the following healthy habits:

  1. Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
  2. Cover up. Flu viruses can travel up to six feet when someone coughs, talks, or sneezes! Try to sneeze and cough into your sleeve or a tissue.
  3. Stay home if you’re sick. It might not feel important to miss class, work, or other responsibilities, but it’s more important to rest and avoid spreading germs to others. If you do get sick, be sure to check out our managing symptoms at home post.
  4. Kill germs. Flu viruses can live on a surface for up to eight hours! Be sure to disinfect and clean countertops, sinks, doorknobs, and other frequently used surfaces.
  5. Avoid touching your face. Germs spread when you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  6. Don’t share. Don’t borrow items such as lipstick, lip balm, eating utensils, straws, cups, toothbrushes, smoking devices like hookahs, pipes, vape pens, or cigarettes. Flu-contaminated saliva can be transferred by any of these items.
  7. Take care of yourself. Sleeping, exercising, managing stress, and eating healthy foods can all help you stay healthy. Need help with any of these or aren’t sure where to start? Check out our full list of wellness workshops on CougSync.

Managing cold symptoms at home

Managing cold symptoms at home

If you have a cold or sore throat, there are lots of things you can do at home to manage symptoms and relieve your discomfort. Make sure you know the difference between cold and flu symptoms, and when to see a doctor.

Symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Running or congested nose
  • Cough
  • Blocked or popping ears
  • Muscle aches
  • Slight fever
  • Tiredness
  • Post nasal drip
  • Headaches

Sore throat care:

  • Gargle with warm salt water to help reduce swelling and relieve discomfort (1 tsp (5 g) of salt dissolved in 1 cup of warm water.)
  • Sip warm chicken broth
  • Try warm tea with lemon and honey, apple juice, Jell-O, or popsicles
  • Take frequent small sips if it is painful to swallow
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) which has anti-inflammatory effects and provides pain relief, or acetaminophen (Tylenol), which is a pain reliever only. Make sure you read the label and follow directions on the package.

General things to do to make you feel better:

  • Use a vaporizer or humidifier in your bedroom
  • Prevent dehydration, increase fluid intake
  • Breathe in steam (hot shower)
  • Rest as needed
  • Nasal/sinus irrigation (Sinus Rinse®, NetiPot®) relieves sinus and nasal congestion and promotes drainage
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products and avoid secondhand smoke

 Contact us if:

  • Temperature is greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit. You can purchase a thermometer at our pharmacy or at any drugstore or grocery store.
  • Your symptoms become more severe
  • Your symptoms do not improve
  • You have questions
  • You feel you need to be seen by a medical provider

Many illnesses, including colds, are caused by viruses. Antibiotics only affect bacteria, not viruses. To help relieve symptoms, many non-prescription medications are available in our pharmacy.

Read directions on medications to ensure:

  • Correct dosing
  • Awareness of any warnings related to the non-prescription medication
  • Possible interactions with the medications you take on a daily basis
  • Possible interactions with any health conditions you may have.

If you have questions about medications, including non-prescription medications, visit our pharmacy or call 509-335-5742.

Over 450 attend Coug Health Fair

CougHealthFair_postPage

Did you join us for the largest health fair in the region? Over 450 students, employees and community members took part in Coug Health Fair this year.

Hosted each year by Health & Wellness Services and the Cougar Health Awareness Team (CHAT), Coug Health Fair offers an opportunity for participants to pick up tips for improving their wellbeing and learn about the health resources available in our community.

This year:

  • 62 health-focused organizations and groups from the Pullman-Moscow community joined us for the fair. Exhibitors offered information on services and resources, plus all kinds of giveaways—everything from fresh apples at the WSU Tukey Orchard booth to free chair massages from Gritman Medical Center!
  • 40 participants received health screenings from HWS facilitators. During screenings, facilitators check participants’ cholesterol and blood pressure and teach them how to perform breast and testicular self-exams. Tracking your numbers and performing regular self-exams can be critical for preventing potentially life-threatening diseases, and many students don’t realize how important it is to start these healthy habits now!
  • 30 participants donated blood to the Inland Northwest Blood Center. Each donation of blood can save up to three lives!
  • 6,659 tickets for 30 door prizes were given out to participants who interacted with exhibitors. We selected prizes designed to help support healthy habits, including a Fitbit, a Nutribullet gift package and gift certificates for massage and outdoor recreation trips.

If you missed this year’s fair, we still have plenty of opportunities for you to get a health screening and learn about health topics like stress, nutrition, fitness and sleep! Check out CougSync for the full list of workshops offered by Health & Wellness Services and our partners.

Get involved to help stop violence

Janille-and-I-

When thinking about violence happening in the world, or in your own community, have you ever thought, “I’m just one person. What can I possibly do?” At the Violence Prevention Programs office at Health & Wellness Services, we have a simple answer to that question – just do something!

Our team believes students are the key to preventing violence on campus. We work with exceptional student leaders who have a passion for making our campus safer. Our graduate assistant Amber Morczek and student employee Janille Lowe recently won Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Awards for their community service efforts around campus. Amber, a graduate student in Criminal Justice and Criminology, was recognized for her teaching, research, student activism, and volunteer work.

Janille, an undergraduate student double-majoring in Criminal Justice and Criminology and Psychology, was recognized as a member of WSU’s Queer People of Color and Allies, an organization working to create communities of support for queer people of color at our university. In addition to the wonderful work they’re doing around campus, Janille and Amber spend time in our office answering phones, greeting visitors, serving as representatives on university committees and giving presentations in classrooms and to student groups.

We’re always looking for more exceptional students to join our team! Volunteers help staff our office, set up for presentations and events, serve on student committees and engage in thoughtful conversations about keeping our campus safe. No experience is necessary to volunteer with our program. We are looking for students who are willing to participate in honest and open conversations about supporting victims and preventing violence. Our volunteers gain leadership and communication skills and make connections with others who share their interests.

If you’d like to learn more about volunteering, contact Nikki at nfinnestead@wsu.edu.

Vision clinic open now

Student receiving vision care

As of March 7, WSU students can access vision care right here on campus! Health & Wellness Services is adding optometry to the wide range of medical services we provide. We’re always collecting student feedback on how we should improve and expand our services, and vision services are one of the most popular requests.

Our new vision clinic opens on March 7, and students can begin scheduling appointments by phone starting on February 29. The vision clinic will be housed in the Washington building, the same location as our main medical clinic, and will be open during the same hours. The vision clinic will have its own separate entrance located down the outside stairs on the right side of the main clinic doors.

Our services at the vision clinic will include:

  • Comprehensive eye exams
  • Contact lens fittings
  • Frame adjustments & repairs
  • Pre- and post-op LASIK care
  • Treatment for eye conditions and injuries

The clinic will carry a large selection of quality frames with something to fit every budget! Our stock includes designer frames and sunglasses from Tom Ford, Ray Ban and Nike. We’ll also be offering a Cougar Package designed to cover everything you need without going over your insurance’s hardware benefit. The package will include selected frames, single vision polycarbonate lenses and an anti-reflective coating for just $200 – a great option for graduate students on the WSU GSA insurance plan.

For more information on the vision clinic, call 509-335-0360.

Need help quitting tobacco?

students discuss quitting tobacco

If you’re thinking about quitting tobacco, now’s a great time to start! Starting this fall, WSU Pullman will become a tobacco-free campus.

Quitting is tough! But know that you are not alone. Health & Wellness Services has a variety of free resources to help WSU students nix nicotine. We can help you explore your options for quitting, improve your motivation and learn new ways to manage stress and cravings.

Nicotine replacements (gum, patches, or lozenges) are also available at no charge to students who participate in ongoing tobacco cessation counseling. If you’d like to find out how we can help you quit, call 509-335-3575.

In the meantime, here are five quick tips to help you get started:

  1. Know why you want to quit. Make sure your motivation is strong enough to outweigh the urge to light up.
  2. Set a quit date. Choosing a specific quit date can help you get serious about your plan to stop using tobacco. Try to find a day when you won’t be too busy or stressed.
  3. Celebrate the small milestones. On top of the health benefits, quitting tobacco can save a lot of money. Reward your achievements and spend the cash you’ve saved on something you enjoy.
  4. Don’t do it alone. Tell the people in your life that you’re planning to quit, join a support group, talk to a counselor, or download an app to receive reminders and support. Counseling and nicotine replacements can significantly improve your chance of success and help ease the symptoms of withdrawal.
  5. Take care of yourself. Caring for your body and mind can help alleviate the stress of quitting tobacco. Exercise will improve your mood and energy. Strive for 7-8 hours of sleep every night, eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
  6. Try and try again. Most people try to quit smoking an average of 8 times before they succeed. Don’t give up! Each time you attempt to quit, you can learn something new about what does and doesn’t work for you, and what you need for success in the future.

Want more? Check out smokefree.gov and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.