Geneseo Health Services offered the first free flu shot clinic on Wednesday Sept. 16. There will be five clinics in total offered throughout September and October, taking place in different locations around campus in order to be as accessible as possible. “We generally try to target September and October for flu shots,” Lauderdale Center for Health and Counseling nurse manager Deborah Penoyer said. “The flu usually hits when students come back after winter break. That’s why we have the flu shot in the fall—to prepare your body for the winter months.”
It’s hard to stay healthy in a university environment where students experience not only stress and lack of sleep, but also constantly come into contact with a plethora of germs from all across the state. Throw cold temperatures and rainy weather on top of close living quarters and one’s immune system barely stands a chance.
The fall season is generally recognized as the time of year when illnesses start becoming pervasive. The chillier, wetter weather seems to lead to an inevitable battle with the occasional cold, and sometimes other unfortunate illnesses: the flu, bronchitis, pneumonia and other dreaded afflictions. Whether the harsher weather is actually to blame or not, taking precautions to remain healthy can make a big difference.
The most recognized advice for staying germ-free is to wash hands frequently. It is also essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to fight illness. “If you’re on the go all the time, getting run down and not keeping a good support network, it is very hard on the body. Without those checks and balances, stress hormone levels rise and take a toll on your system,” Penoyer said. “Sometimes when students are stressed and they’re not figuring out their schedules or having trouble transitioning to the campus atmosphere, they lose sleep, which can be very taxing.”
Another aspect of a healthy lifestyle that also serves to ward off maladies is exercise. “Exercise is medicine,” Penoyer said. “Eating well-balanced meals and getting plenty of fluids is obviously very important, but maintaining a good exercise regime is just as important.”
Regardless of lifestyle choices, everyone is susceptible to falling ill. Getting a flu shot is a smart thing to do to stay well, especially with the upcoming fall and winter months. Penoyer expressed hope that all students will get flu shots.
“Last year, even with the vaccine being less potent than normal, we still had low incidents of the flu because students took advantage of the clinics,” she said.