Flu season brings extra worries of H1N1

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A vaccine for the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, will be available late October at the Klotz Health Center. Photo Credit: Katie Chavarin/ Staff Photographer

“‘Be prepared, not scared,’ is the motto of the CSUN Klotz Student Health Center,” Dr. Yolanda Chassiakos, director of the Health Center, said in response to a question about the H1N1 swine flu.

“We have a pandemic plan available consisting of three elements: prevention, safety through education and care,” she continued. “Every year viruses start in the Southern Hemisphere and then spread to the Northern Hemisphere. This year, it just happens to be seasonal flu (with) the addition of the H1N1 virus.”

Chassiakos said that most flu viruses affect children and the elderly. However, young adults seem just as susceptible to the H1N1 strain. Typical symptoms of the flu are fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

The Health Center is offering a seasonal flu vaccine but it is unknown how many shots will be required.

“The regular seasonal flu serum will probably be available in early September and will require one shot,” Chassiakos said, “but the H1N1 will be available later in October and may require as many as two or three inoculations depending on the effectiveness of the vaccine.”

For some students, the prospect of an H1N1 resurgence is daunting, and the notion of taking the vaccine does not provide much comfort.

“I heard today in class about the H1N1 virus. It’s coming,” said senior English major Patricia Overly. “I don’t think California is ready for it. I would have to research the vaccine, if I were to take it.”

Until the vaccine is available, Chassiakos recommends common-sense methods of prevention such as covering one’s mouth with a tissue when one coughs or sneezes. She said alcohol-based hand cleansers are also effective.

Senior English literature major Candice Lehman isn’t too worried about the potential outbreak of H1N1.

“I don’t usually take vaccines. I’m not worried,” Lehman said. “The H1N1 is similar to the seasonal flu, but more severe.”

Sharon Aronoff, a health educator, noted that the Student Health Center is supported by student fees. Besides assistance with the H1N1 flu vaccines, the Center provides a wide range of health care services from optometry to chiropractics. These services are free of charge to all CSUN students.