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Health Matters Newsletter

Student Health Center
State University of New York
Fredonia, NY 14063

Location:LoGrasso Hall

Phone: (716) 673-3131

Fax: (716) 673-4722


Office Hours

Academic Year

8:00 am-5:00 pm M-F


8:00 am-4:00 pm M-F


Flu Shots are Available

When: Beginning on October 10, 2013

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**

For those students under the age of 18, a parental consent is needed before you can receive the vaccine.  Please have your parent print out the following two documents.  Your parent will need to fill out , sign and fax the "Consent to receive the Flu Vaccine" document to (716) 673-4722.

Vaccine Information Statement

Consent to receive the Flu Vaccine


Tobacco-Free Fredonia
Tobacco-Free Fredonia

Coming January 1, 2014


Quit & Win Contest

Quit and Win

Quit & Win is a free 10 week tobacco cessation program sponsored by the Tobacco Free Taskforce to assist students, faculty, and staff who want to quit tobacco products. Participants in the Quit & Win program will be offered support services through the New York Smokers Quitline and be eligible to win prizes if they stay tobacco free.

For more information or to register for Quit & Win click here

Sing for a Cure

" Sing for a Cure, " a fundraiser presenting a capella singing groups well known on campus, personal testimonies from women battling breast cancer and a raffle, will be held Wednesday, October 23, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Williams Center Multipurpose Room.



October 2013

 It's time to get your Flu Shot!

Welcome to the Health Matters Newsletter, published by the Health Center and part of the weekly Campus Report.  Its purpose is to share information regarding pertinent medical issues and health and wellness tips with students, faculty and staff here at SUNY Fredonia.  Topics this month include:


It's time to get your Flu Shot!

Myths About the Flu Vaccine

Halloween Safety

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month



It's time to get your Flu Shot

Classes are in full swing now, and so is the flu virus.   It is important to protect yourself from the flu by getting a flu shot.  Otherwise, you are at risk for contracting it, spreading it, and hindering your academic success.

What is seasonal flu?

Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses.  Approximately 5-20% of U.S. residents get the flu each year.  It spreads between people and can cause mild to severe illness.  In some cases, the flu can lead to death.

In the United States, the flu season occurs in the fall and winter.  Seasonal flu activity usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur as early as October and as late as May.

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 8, 2013

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:

  1. Pregnant women
  2. Children younger then 5, but especially those children younger then 2 years old
  3. People 50 years of age and older
  4. People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  5. People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  6. 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.

**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. **

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 influenza vaccine.
  • 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 side effects:

  1. Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  2. Fever (low grade)
  3. Aches

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 it.

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:

  1. runny nose
  2. wheezing
  3. headache

In adults, side effects from LAIV can  include:

  1. runny nose
  2. headache
  3. sore throat
  4. cough

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.


Myths About the Flu Vaccine

By: Lauren Hargraves

Myth #1: You can get the flu from the vaccine.

This is absolutely false. The vaccine injects a DEAD strain of the flu into your system. Your body’s immune system can’t tell the difference between a live and dead virus, so it treats it as a live strain. The body then produces antibodies, which are what fight viruses. Any contact you may make with the virus after having the flu vaccine will be safe because your body will recognize the virus and has the right antibodies to fight it, so you won’t ‘catch’ the flu.

Myth #2: The flu is only dangerous for the elderly.

It is true that children and seniors have weaker immune systems and are more at risk of dying from something like the flu, but it can be a risk for everyone. During times of the year where there is more academic pressure you may be exhibiting symptoms of stress, like fatigue. During stressful times your immune system can be hindered due to the stress hormone called cortisol. Since exam times fall during the flu season, otherwise healthy students are at greater risk of contracting the flu and having complications of it because of a hindered immune system from stress.

Myth #3: If you have the flu once, you won’t get it again in the same season.

During a typical flu season, there are both Type A and Type B strains of the flu going around. If you have the flu once, you have only encountered one strain of that season’s flu. So you can absolutely catch the other strain of the flu and have it twice in one season! If you contract the flu once, you should still get your flu shot afterward to protect yourself from catching the other strain of the season.

There is a Vaccine for Everyone

There are two types of vaccines, the shot and the nasal spray. If you don’t like needles, the nasal spray can be an option for you.

The nasal spray differs from the shot in a couple of ways. First, it uses a live, weakened flu virus as opposed to the killed virus the shot uses. This live, weakened virus will still not give you the flu. It is approved for use in healthy people ages 2-49 that are not pregnant. The shot is approved for anyone above the age of 6 months to use, and is safe for people with chronic medical conditions.


Halloween Safety

By: Lauren Hargraves

It’s October, the leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and that means one of the most fun-filled days college students look forward to is approaching: Halloween! Dressing up to pretend to be someone or something else can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to remember to be safe on Halloween, just like any other day of the year. If you follow the tips below, you’ll be sure to have a great Halloween.

  1. If you are walking somewhere on or off-campus, stay with your friends! Don’t walk anywhere alone at night. Have a buddy with you, even if you’re not going very far. Better safe than sorry.
  2. Don’t leave any drinks unattended. If you do, get a new one; you never know what someone could have done to a drink when you weren’t paying attention to it.
  3. It’s rare to see a student without a cell phone in their hand these days, but be sure to have one on you at all times. If you get separated from your friends you can call them, and you never know if you might need to call a cab to get home.
  4. Along with a cell phone, make sure to carry some cash on you as well. If you need to call a cab, you’ll need to pay them for driving you home. You don’t want to be stuck in a place you don’t want to be.
  5. Stay with your friends; don’t hang out with or go somewhere with someone you don’t know. Stranger danger applies even on Halloween!
  6. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If you’re uncomfortable being in a situation or hanging out with a particular crowd, just leave. Be sure to look out for yourself.
  7. Keep it light. You don’t want to start a fight or join one; it’ll ruin the night for you and for your friends. Walking away from something is the best choice.
  8. Along with keeping it light, don’t drink too much! It’s NEVER fun to be drunk to the point of being sick, making bad choices, or blacking out and not remembering the fun night you wanted to have! Plus, it’s never fun for your friends to have to ‘babysit’ you if they are worried about the choices you might make, or if you are sick from drinking. Do everyone a favor and drink responsibly.


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 :

  1. Lay down and place a pillow under your right shoulder. Next, place your right arm under your head.
  2. 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.
  3. Continue the motion, extending to the outside of the breast to your underarm.
  4. Repeat on left side.
  5. 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.
  6. For added precaution, stand in front of a mirror and squeeze each nipple. Look for any discharge.
  7. 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.

Page modified 12/7/15