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The Scarlet & Black

Sick students SHAC up

Beware the Cleveland Cough, the Rose Respiratory Infection and the Haines Headache! Student health at the College has taken a turn for the worse this semester, with almost double the amount of appointments as September 2010.

So far, 607 students have been served by the Grinnell College Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS), which is 300 more students than last year at this time. That number does not include the 267 freshmen that arrived in Grinnell with incomplete health cards and were seen by the office in the first week of school.

Health-for Features (web)

Even though 607 students have been helped by SHACS, there have been 1,067 appointments made. This discrepancy comes from some students coming in multiple times and others skipping their appointments. A majority of the appointments were basic nursing triage visits, though some were immunization or PPD/Tuberculosis (TB) skin tests. There have also been 233 outside referrals for doctor appointments made, according to Deb Shill, Lead Nurse & Coordinator of Health Services.

“It’s been a crazy beginning to the year!” Shill said. “I hope the student body starts feeling better.”

Shill suggests that the best precautions against illness are also the simplest—wash your hands and cover your cough with the inside of your elbow instead of your hands to help prevent the spread of germs.

Many students have been missing class and shuffling around with tissues and cups of tea. However, illness is not only affecting the student body.

“Campus health seems to be in a pretty dismal state, even Professor Savarese is sick!” claims Clint Williamson ’13.

SHACS is encouraging students to participate in the Flu Shot Clinic currently in progress. Flu shots are available to the student body only from Sept. 29 to Oct. 6 and will subsequently open to the faculty and staff.

There are currently 1,100 flu shots available, 100 less than last year’s order because of low demand last semester. This year’s shot combines vaccines for both influenza and the H1N1 virus.

Despite the potential benefits of such a vaccine, some people believe these shots do more harm than good. Ashur Bratt ’12 is one student who chooses not to get vaccinations.

“I’ve never gotten the flu shot.” Bratt said.

Whatever your choice may be, make sure to take care of your health. SHACS is a great resource for students, one that offers health, counseling and psychiatric services as well as free condoms and a smile.

(data for infographic provided by Deb Shill, SHACS)

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