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UNCA health center staff urge students to get flu vaccination
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Officials at UNC Asheville’s student
health services confirmed two cases
of influenza during the first week of
“We’ve only been in school a short
time, so we have had just a few positive
cases,” said Jay Cutspec, the director
of student health and counseling
Pharmacists at the CVS on Merrimon
Avenue confirmed a higher number of
“In the pharmacy, we’ve had about
seven to eight confirmed cases a
day, and four to five per day in our
MinuteClinic,” said Lauren Keeler, a
pharmacist at CVS.
Living in close quarters with one
another impacts students’ exposure to
the flu and other illnesses.
“Because college students are in a
communal living situation, they have
more exposure to sickness than people
in private residences,” Cutspec said.
Increased exposure to illness requires
students to pay close attention to their
surroundings, according to officials at
student health services.
“We know that the flu virus can live
outside the body for a period of time,”
said Dr. Jeffrey Graham, medical
director of student health services.
"That includes door knobs, keyboards
and things like that,”
Awareness of surroundings can
Dr. Jeffrey Graham
aid in flu
shot as the
the flu by getting the shot every year,”
Many college students do not usually
get vaccinated, though. The student
health center averages 30-40 vaccines
“I think some students don’t get
vaccinated because they think that
they’re young and it won’t affect them,”
Cutspec said. “Others, 1 think, still have
a little needle phobia.”
Due to the unusually high turnout
this year, the student health center has
already been through their small supply
for the year.
“For those looking to get a shot, I
recommend the CVS on Merrimon.
They usually order a lot more than us.
and they work well with our school
Campus police log
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three aicohoi viotations on University Heights, Founders Haii
other Violations: university ponce received a report of a
burglary in Founders Hail on Jan. 16. The case is closed and an
insurance,” Cutspec said.
For those who don’t like the idea of
getting a shot, the mist is also an option.
“The main difference between the two
is that the mist is a live virus in a lower
concentration, and the shot is a higher
concentration of a non-live virus,”
The shots themselves also come with
a few mild side effects that students
should be aware of before receiving
one, according to officials at the student
“You can almost expect a low grade
fever and mild to low grade body aches
with the shot, but they should disappear
within 48 hours,” Graham said.
The mist also has some side effects
that can be expected, according to
“The mist’s side effects are usually
the same as the shot, but maybe a bit
more intense,” Graham said.
New flu shots come out every year
due to the virus evolving so quickly,
according to officials with the Centers
for Disease Control.
“There are a couple of different
shots you can get,” Graham said. “At
student health services we offer one that
protects against three different strains;
two B strains and one A strain.”
Each year the CDC predicts which
strains will be most prevalent, and the
shots are made up based on that.
“It’s a guessing game. We hope that
the prevalent strains are covered by the
vaccine, but occasionally, other strains
will show up,” Cutspec said.
This season a few cases of an
unpredicted strain have been confirmed,
according to Graham.
“We’ve had a few atypical A strain
cases that we’ve treated here,” Graham
said. “Sometimes that happens and we
just have to deal with it.”
For anyone who starts feeling under
the weather, Graham said the flu has
some distinctive symptoms.
“Early symptoms include rapid onset,
high fever and body aches,” Graham
said. “Rapid onset is a pretty good
indicator. We can have students come in
and say, ‘Yeah, I started feeling bad at
3:23 this afternoon.’”
If students start feeling like something
isn’t quite right, they should go and get
tested, Graham said.
“We're seeing a lot of students with
influenza-like symptoms, but don’t have
the flu," Graham said. “They have the
rapid onset, body aches, but a lower
If the flu is confirmed early enough,
there are options for treatment.
“If you do get the flu, you should stay
isolated to prevent spreading the virus,
but also if you catch it early enough you
can Tamiflu,” Cutspec said. “You are
much less likely to get the full blown flu
if you can get Tamiflu in the first couple
Although flu season comes every
year, there are things students can do to
be prepared for it.
“The best advice I can give anyone is
to wash your hands, wash your hands
and wash your hands,” Cutspec said.
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