Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, October 11, 2012

First flu cases being reported; still time to get vaccinated

With the first few cases of flu being reported in Michigan, university health officials want to remind the campus community that there is still time to get a flu vaccination.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to prevent influenza is to receive a seasonal flu shot. This year's seasonal flu vaccine provides protection against three different strains of influenza virus, including the 2009 H1N1 virus.

 

Schedule a vaccination appointment online at University Health Service or find more information.

Learn more about the U-M Health System's flu prevention program and free clinics. (Website access limited to U-M computers or virtual networks.)

Flu typically is seasonal, appearing December through March in Michigan.

The CDC defines flu-like illness as a fever of 100.4 Fahrenheit or greater, plus a cough or sore throat and possibly other symptoms like runny nose, body aches, headaches, chills, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhea.

University health officials also add that one of the most important things for everyone to do is to take seriously common-sense precautions including frequent hand washing, covering a cough or sneezing into one's elbow and promptly disposing of used tissues.

MHealthy's final walk-in flu shot clinic for Ann Arbor campus employees (excluding U-M Health System employees) is today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Michigan Union's Kuenzel Room. Employees covered by a U-M health insurance plan will not pay an out-of-pocket fee if they present their health insurance card. Employees not covered under an accepted insurance plan can receive a flu shot at the discounted rate of $25 per person, payable by cash, check, or credit card.

Faculty, staff and students also may obtain the flu vaccine at UMHS sites, the University Health Service, other primary care providers or some local pharmacies.

UMHS and UHS again have joined health care institutions throughout the country in requiring its employees to receive the flu vaccination or wear a protective mask during flu season. This requirement applies to all members of the UMHS and UHS community who interact face-to-face with patients in any way or enter patient rooms for any reason.

Vaccination is particularly important for high-risk groups, including children, those 65 years old and older, pregnant women and anyone with an underlying condition that can weaken the immune system. The CDC also recommends that because children younger than 6 months cannot be vaccinated, their caregivers and entire family should receive the shot.