vaccine shortage, flu remedies still remain
By Lori Russell
Dont go to the Health Center if you want a flu shot. Theyre
And you may not find the vaccine anywhere else in town either.
But doctors say you can still take steps to prevent coughing and
aching at the time of year when the virus hits campus the hardest.
Burton W. Schwartz, a physician at the Health Center, said students
should try to get at least eight hours of sleep a day, drink plenty
of fluids and eat healthy, balanced meals. Hot liquids, such as
vegetable and chicken soups, can soothe sore throats and are packed
with protein, carbohydrates and fat, all of which are important
for maintaining good health, he said.
The early flu season in the United States has been accompanied by
an unusually high and persistent demand for flu shots, or trivalent
inactivated vaccine. This resulted in nationwide shortages of the
vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Health Center, which announced availability of the vaccine in
October, ran out near the end of last semester after administering
more than 1,400 shots, Schwartz said. TCU will not get anymore vaccine
this season. He said students might still be able to get the shot
from their family doctor.
The Tarrant County Public Health Department ran out of vaccine Dec.
11, Vanassa Joseph, a senior public information officer, said. But
the county has other remedies.
The Health Department offers a nasal spray form of the vaccine,
FluMist, for $30. It is available at two locations: Southwest Public
Health Center in Fort Worth and Northeast Public Health Center in
Bedford. It is only available for healthy people ages 5 to 49.
Schwartz said the flu usually hits campus hardest during January
and February, so there is still a chance TCU will experience a second
round of the virus.
Schwartz recommends avoiding smoking or cigarette smoke, which irritates
the respiratory system. They should also avoid alcohol, which weakens
the immune system and can cause dehydration, he said.
Several students a week last semester were sent to hospitals and
emergency rooms for treatment of dehydration, a common complication
with the flu, Schwartz said.
We had some very sick people, and some students had fevers
of 102 to 104 degrees, Schwartz said. Every cell in
their bodies ached.
Schwartz said since many students are starting the new year with
a new daily planner, it might be a good idea to turn to October
now and write down a personal reminder to get your flu shot early
Thats what Angie Payne plans to do.
The freshman psychology major has gotten flu shots yearly since
she was a little girl, but didnt get around to it this year.
Angie came down with flu symptoms a few days before dead days last
semester, and suffered from a severe sore throat, body aches, fever
The sore throat and body aches were the worst, Angie
said. At night my fever would go way up and I would feel really
hot and then Id get the chills.