It's time to get your Flu Shot
Welcome to the October 2010 issue of the Health Matters Newsletter. The Health Matters
Newsletter is published on a monthly basis on the Health Center home page, and is
linked to the weekly Campus Report. The purpose of the newsletter is to share information,
regarding pertinent medical issues and health and wellness suggestions with the students,
faculty and staff here at SUNY Fredonia. This month's topics include:
It's time to get your Flu Shot
My aching back - is your back pack hurting you
How to kick a cold
October is Breast Care Awareness Month
It's time to get your Flu Shot
The 2010-2011 flu season is upon us, and it is time to get vaccinated. Traditionally,
flu seasons are unpredictable due to what influenza viruses are spreading, and whether
they match the viruses in the flu vaccine. Last flu season (2009-2010) , we saw the
emergence of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus , previously called "novel H1N1" or "swine
flu". This virus caused the first influenza pandemic in more than 40 years. Although,
not certain, it is likely that 2009 H1N1 viruses will continue to spread along with
seasonal viruses in the United States during the 2010-2011 flu season. Fortunately,
this virus will be covered in this year's seasonal flu vaccine.
What should I do to prepare for this flu season?
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone as the first and most important
step in protecting you against this serious disease. While there are many different
flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests
will be most common.
The "flu shot" is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle,
usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older then six months,
including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
The "nasal spray flu vaccine" is a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu (sometimes
called LAIV for "live attenuated influenza vaccine" or FluMist) is approved for the
use in healthy people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.
Flu Shots are Available
When: Beginning on October 12,2010
Between the Hours of: 9am-12am and 2pm-4pm
Where: LoGrasso Hall Health Center
Cost: $10.00 Students and $20.00 Faculty/Staff
**Fred Debit Card Only**
When to get vaccinated?
Yearly flu vaccinations should begin in September or as soon as the vaccine is available
and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January and beyond.
This is because the timing and duration of influenza seasons vary. While influenza
outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks
in January or later.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
Everyone six months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu as soon
as the 2010-2011 season's vaccine is available.
While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it's especially important
that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having
serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at
high risk for developing flu-related complications:
**If you are 65 years of age or older, there is a new, more potent influenza vaccine
available. Please discuss this with your primary care physician as to whether you
should receive the “Fluzone High Dose” Seasonal Influenza Vaccine. **
- Pregnant women
- Children younger then 5, but especially those children younger then 2 years old
- People 50 years of age and older
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from the flu
such as health care workers, household contacts of persons at high risk for complications
from the flu, and household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than
six months of age.
Who Should NOT Be Vaccinated?
There are some people who should not get a flu vaccine without first consulting a
physician. These include:
- People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
- People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.
- People who developed Gullian Barr'e syndrome (GBS) within six weeks of getting an
- Children less than six months of age
- People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until
they recover to get vaccinated).
What Side Effects Should I Expect From the Vaccine?
There are different side effects which can be associated with the flu shot vs. LAIV.
The "flu shot", composed of inactivated viruses, come with the possibility of the following minor
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
- Fever (low grade)
If these problems occur, they begin soon after the shot and usually last 1 to 2 days.
Almost all people who receive the influenza vaccine have no serious problems from
The "nasal spray flu vaccine" (also called LAIV or FluMist) are weakened viruses and do not cause severe symptoms
often associated with influenza illness.
In Children, side effects from LAIV can include:
- runny nose
In adults, side effects from LAIV can include:
- runny nose
- sore throat
What else can be done to prevent the spread of flu?
Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue
in the trash after you use it.
- Wash you hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use
an alcohol based hand rub.
Hand washing: A simple way to prevent infection
Did you know?
Hand washing is a simple habit - one that requires minimal training and no special
equipment. Yet, it's one of the best ways to avoid getting sick. This simple habit
requires only soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer -- a cleanser
that doesn't require water.
When should you wash your hands?
It's impossible to keep your bare hands germ-free, however, there are times that
exist when it's critical to wash you hands to limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses
and other microbes.
Always wash your hands:
-After using the bathroom.
-After changing a diaper.
-After touching animals or animal waste.
-Before and after you eat.
-Before and after preparing food, especially before and immediately after handling
raw meat, poultry or fish.
-After blowing your nose.
-After coughing or sneezing into your hands.
-Before and after treating wounds or cuts.
-Before and after touching a sick or injured person.
-After handling garbage.
-Before inserting or removing contact lenses.
-When using public restrooms, such as those in airports, train stations, bus stations
Proper hand-washing techniques
Good hand-washing techniques include washing your hands with soap and water or using
an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Antimicrobial wipes or towelettes are just as effective
as soap and water in cleaning your hands .
Just a word on antibacterial soaps.
Antibacterial soaps , although popular, are no more effective at killing germs than
are regular soap and water. Using these antibacterial soaps may lead to the development
of bacteria that are resistant to the products' antimicrobial agents, therefore, making
it harder to kill these germs in the future. In general, regular soap is fine.
How to wash your hands with soap and water
-Wet your hands with warm, running water and apply liquid or bar soap. Lather well.
-Rub your hands vigorously together for at least 15 seconds.
-Scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers
and under your fingernails. The scrubbing will loosen and remove bacteria from your
-Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel.
-Use a towel to turn off the faucet.
How to wash you hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers don't require water , and are an excellent alternative
to hand washing, especially in areas where soap and water are not readily available.
-Apply about 1/2 tsp of the product to the palm of your hand.
-Rub your hands together, covering all surfaces of your hands, until they are dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people
- If you are sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for
at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other
necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever reducing medicine
such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
My aching back - is your back pack hurting you
More than 40 million students in the United States carry backpacks. According to
one study by the American Occupational Therapy Association, six out of ten students
ages 9 to 20 reported chronic back pain related to backpacks. Here are some tips
to avoid backpack -related health problems:
1. Never carry more then 15% of you body weight in your backpack. This means that
someone who weighs 100 pounds should not wear a backpack heavier than 15 pounds.
2. Load the heaviest items closet to your back and arrange books and materials to
prevent them from sliding.
3. Always wear both shoulder straps. Wearing only one strap can cause you to lean
to one side, curving the spine and causing pain or discomfort.
4. Select a pack with well-padded shoulder straps. Too much pressure on the shoulders
and neck can cause pain and tingling.
5. Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly to your back. The bottom
of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back, never more than four inches
below the waistline.
6. Use the waist belt. This will help distribute the pack's weight more evenly.
7. If you are experiencing back pain or neck soreness, consult your physician or occupational
By DJ Schier
As college students, we have all been thrown into situations where, when it comes
down to it, we don't get enough sleep. You had a paper that you were finishing until
5 in the morning, and had a class at 8 to rush to. You may have decided that, instead
of staying in and catching some sleep, you wanted to go out to a party with friends
and not come home until 3 in the morning. Or maybe you are feeling stressed about
school, a relationship, something going on back home. It is more common than you
think, but the lack of sleep does catch up to you.
In a recent poll done at Fredonia, when asked about what their biggest problem at
school is, a majority said that not getting enough sleep was their biggest for that
they had to worry about. We know we should have better time management skills and
prioritize everything we do to include sleep, but with workloads that students have
along with healthy social lives, sleep does fall at the bottom of the list. Common
things like stress and anxiety are culprits in this case, too. Worrying about that
project that is due in tow days, or why your significant other and friends feel more
distant. All of these things affect your sleeping patterns.
So what happens to someone who is only running on a few hours of sleep each night?
The biggest problem of all shouldn't be too hard to believe. Classes are being missed.
The reason students are here, contrary to what others may believe , is to get an education
at SUNY Fredonia. Sleep deprivation and lack of sleep is getting in the way of classes,
and students need to take a proactive approach to help get themselves into a healthy
Students live a fast paced lifestyle, and sometimes sleep doesn't seem like a priority,
but it should. Student who are getting the fully recommended hours of sleep are more
energized, on top of their game, and over all, happier. Students who aren't on the
other hand, are having a negative effect on themselves. Our bodies and minds need
sleep to rejuvenate themselves and prepare for the next day. When you don't get the
sleep you need, you are prone to be more sluggish, irritable, have less energy and
drive, and your day feels like it will be dragging on forever. This is because of
sleep debt, where your body is slowing realizing how many hours of sleep it needs
to get back to where it was, and will try to make you go to sleep to catch up on these
debited hours of sleep. According to www.sleepnet.com , if you loose one hour of
sleep a night for five days, your body needs five extra hours of sleep to catch up.
Typically, college students use Saturday and Sunday to catch up on this, but if they
are running themselves down more and more, it could leak into the weekdays, keeping
students from class.
So what can you do to avoid problems that come with sleeping? For starters, don't
oversleep. Giving your body too much sleep is actually not a very good thing and can
disrupt sleeping patterns. Another suggestion would be to work on your time management
skills. Fall into a pattern where you have a designated sleep pattern throughout the
week to keep you well rested. The LoGrasso Health Center and Counseling Services
are also available for anyone who wants to talk to someone about anxieties and stresses
in their life that may be disrupting their sleep patterns.
All in all, it would be a safe bet to say that working out a better sleeping pattern
will help you out overall. The more healthy sleep you are getting, the more rested
you will feel, and that will carry into your everyday life and be reflected in how
How to kick a cold
Everyone has been there, the sneezing, the scratchy throat, the runny nose. Yes,
you've got it, a COLD. There are over 200 virus strains known to cause the common
cold. A cold can spread like wildfire in close quarters such as classrooms and college
dormitories. Spread by droplets from the nose and mouth of infected persons, the
average college student will experience cold like symptoms 2-4 times each year.
Question: Can I catch a cold from being out in the cold?
This is a common myth. There is no evidence that you can get a cold from exposure
to cold weather or from getting chilled or from being overheated.
Question: Can I catch a cold from have enlarged tonsils or adenoids?
There is no evidence that your chances of getting a cold are related to factors such
as exercise, diet or enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
Question: When is the cold season?
In late August , early September, the rate of colds increases for a few weeks and
then remains high until April, when it finally declines. At these times, the weather
is cooler, people are more likely to be indoors, which increases the chances that
viruses will spread from one person to another.. Most cold causing viruses survive
better when the humidity is low during the colder months.
Question: How do I know that I have a cold?
There are many variations of the common cold. Most people will experience some combination
of a runny nose, sneezing, stuffiness, sore throat , cough, and/or headache for 1-2
week period. A fever is usually low grade , but can climb to 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
Question: When should I go to the Health Center?
Most colds can be treated with over the counter products such as Tylenol, Sudafed
or any of the many cold preparations out there. Colds can occasionally lead to bacterial
infections of your middle ear, sinuses, or throat requiring treatment with antibiotics.
If the fever persists, or if you experience significant swollen glands, severe sinus
pain, or a cough that produces mucus then you should seek medical attention either
with your primary physician or at the college Health Center.
Question: How can I treat my cold?
1) Resting in bed.
2) Drinking plenty of fluids
3) Gargling with warm salt water or using throat sprays or lozenges for a sore throat
4) Taking aspirin or Tylenol for the low grade fever, headache and general malaise.
5) Taking a cough medicine with an expectorant to loosen the secretions and make it easier
6) Taking a decongestant to reduce the swelling in the nasal mucosa, promote drainage
and reduce airflow resistance.
7) Discontinue all tobacco and alcohol use. Both can make the symptoms of a cold worse.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in this country. Each
year, more than 211,000 women and 1,700 men in the United States learn that they have
Breast Cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2008, it is estimated
that 182,460 females and 1990 males will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and 40,480
women and 450 men will die from breast cancer.
Research from the National Academy of Sciences concludes that lifestyle and diet is
responsible for up to 60% of cancers in women. A strong link suggests that a lower
estrogen level reduces the risk for developing breast cancer. It appears that estrogen,
a natural female hormone, induces and promotes mammary (breast) tumors. This happens
when too much fat in the diet upsets the estrogen balance in women. Also, women who
have several close maternal relatives (i.e., grandmother, mother, aunt, sister) who
develop breast cancer before menopause, the risk may be as high as 50%.
The best prevention is eating a low fat, high fiber diet, limiting or avoiding alcohol,
not smoking, and exercising regularly. Not only does the dietary regime reduce the
risk of breast cancer but it may help prevent many other types of cancer.
The most common sign of breast cancer is a lump or thickening in the breast. Other
signs include swelling, puckering or dimpling of the skin, or redness or soreness
in the skin. The nipple may become drawn into the chest, change shape, become crusty
or emit a discharge. Some early breast cancers are painless. Any pain or tenderness
that lasts throughout the 28 day menstrual cycle should be reported to your physician.
Mammography, as a diagnostic tool, remains a woman's best defense against breast cancer.
A mammogram can find a breast lump when they are extremely small, too small in many
cases to be detected in a physical exam. There is a 97% cure rate in early diagnosis
where the cancer has not spread. Remember 4 out of 5 lumps are benign and not cancerous. According
to the American Cancer Society, a woman should have her first (baseline) mammogram
between the ages of 35 and 39. Then one should be done every one to two years between
the ages of 40 and 50 and annually thereafter.
Cancer is a multistage process. Ones best defense is to block the process throughout
your lifetime with a healthy lifestyle.
Self breast exams are the simplest, the least time consuming and the first line for
women to detect abnormalities in their breast. Monthly self breast exams performed
7 to 10 days after the start of the menstrual cycle, can familiarize the woman with
her own breasts and make it easier to detect any abnormalities.
How to perform a self breast exam :
- Lay down and place a pillow under your right shoulder. Next, place your right arm
under your head.
- Using your three middle fingers of your left hand, massage your right breast with
the pads of your fingers. Check for any lumps or abnormalities. You can move in a
circular motion, or up and down. Make sure you use the same motion every month.
- Continue the motion, extending to the outside of the breast to your underarm.
- Repeat on left side.
- Next, repeat exam standing up, with one arm behind your shoulder as you examine each
breast. Standing or sitting up allows you to feel the outside of the breast more accurately.
- For added precaution, stand in front of a mirror and squeeze each nipple. Look for
- Take note of any dimpling, redness or swelling.
1. You can do a portion of the exam while you are in the shower. Incorporating it
into a normal activity can make it easier to do, and less of a time constraint. Remember
to mark your calendar every month as a reminder.
2. Do the self breast exam every month at the same time. Menstruating women should
perform it a few days after their period. Women taking oral contraceptives should
do the exam on the first day of starting a new pack of pills.
3. Report any changes to your physician, even if you feel it is minor.