WIU Prepares Its Defenses Against the Dreaded Flu Season

The days are shortening, the temperatures are dropping and the leaves are changing….although we may be enjoying the cooler weather now, soon the flu season will hit. Everyone has gotten the flu at one time or another, and with students living in such close quarters during college, Western wants to help them take the right precautions to avoid getting sick. That’s where the Beu Health Center comes in….offering free flu shots for all Western students.

Flu shots have always been free for WIU students, says Head Nurse Barbara Slater. The Beu Health Center has provided flu shots for students as long as they took the initiative to get their vaccinations. However, the Beu Health Center has taken steps to make it even easier for students to get vaccinated against the flu. Various flu shot clinics are set up across campus over various days, giving students easy access to the flu shot, including at the University Union. “We’ve been coming to the University Union for at least five years,” she said. “As long as we’ve had the flu vaccine, we’ve always been here. We always have a big turnout.”

Clinics can also found in residence halls on various evenings. Because of the convenient locations and hours for students, many WIU men and women show up for their free flu shot. Slater noted that 150 to 200 students turn out for their immunizations in a single residence hall. During the first morning of the flu clinics at the University Union, more than 60 students received their free flu shot, including me.

Organizing the flu shot clinics is something that takes a lot of preparation and time, Slater said. “I try to set up in different locations,” she began. “I have people that I work with within each department…someone who works with planning dates…I work with housing residences and give them dates of when I want to come. And then I coordinate with the school of nursing, so they can help me out. The students are very helpful,” Slater said.

These clinics are also opportunities for Western students to get professional experience as many nursing students help at the clinics. With the constant flow of students coming in, the nurses keep up seamlessly. “It flows really well,” Slater said. “We have students come in and we make sure they don’t wait in line. So we have six stations as well as a blood pressure station.” And I can attest that the process was very quick; I received my vaccination in less than five minutes!

In previous years, the Beu Health Center realized just how many clinics were needed throughout WIU’s campus. Last year, services were available in Morgan Hall and a few other academic buildings; more than 1,200 doses were given to students. This year, with the re-opening of Corbin and Olson residence halls, flu shot clinics will be more widespread.

Beu Health Center has continued to be helpful in any way it can towards students throughout the years. Slater says Beu Health Center offers the same health care that has always been offered. “We have four doctors, practitioners…an x-ray lab, insurance…we can handle any of the students’ needs,” said Slater.

Thanks to Beu Health Center’s efforts, I, along with more than 1,000 WIU students will be able to fight off the invasive flu virus.

If you would like to find out more information about the Beu Health Center, visit http://www.wiu.edu/student_services/beu_health_center/. Stay healthy, WIU!

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