University Health Services

UHS encourages students to protect their health by getting the flu shot

Student flu vaccine clinic to be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 30 in the Student Health Center at University Park

To help fight the flu, University Health Services will host an in-house flu vaccine clinic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30, in the Student Health Center at University Park by appointment only. Credit: Adrienne ThompsonAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — University Health Services (UHS), a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, is administering flu shots for all students in the Student Health Center at University Park and at its in-house clinic. 

The influenza virus (flu) is a contagious upper respiratory illness that infects the nose, throat and lungs. It can cause mild to severe symptoms, and even death, if left untreated. The single best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu shot every year.  

To help keep Penn State students safe, UHS will host an in-house flu vaccine clinic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30, in the Student Health Center by appointment only. If students are unavailable to attend the in-house clinic, they can schedule a flu shot appointment at any time via myUHS. For more details on the in-house clinic, visit the UHS flu webpage

Over the fall break, students are encouraged to schedule a flu shot with their family doctor or through a local pharmacy if they have not already received one. Students can find flu vaccines in their area via the Vaccine Finder website.   

Flu season runs from early October to late May, with peaks between December and February, so it is crucial for students to get vaccinated now.

“The COVID pandemic has certainly heightened everyone's awareness about respiratory illnesses, which is good,” said Valerie Fulton, UHS infectious disease manager. “UHS can provide more sensitive testing for ill patients, and we are currently testing for flu and COVID together via PCR test. Previous years flu counts for this time of year were low. As of Oct. 28 to Nov. 17, we have had 179 cases of flu A. The flu strain that was isolated is the A H3N3, which was one of the strains added to the quadrivalent flu vaccine for the 2021-22 flu season.”  

Though symptoms for the flu and colds are similar, it is important to know the differences. Flu symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following:  

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills. 

  • Cough.

  • Sore throat.

  • Runny or stuffy nose.

  • Muscle or body aches.

  • Headaches.

  • Fatigue (tiredness).

  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

“The flu vaccine is safe, effective and typically well covered by insurance. Most medications for the flu only decrease symptoms by one day, so people can still feel quite sick despite taking flu medicine. The flu shot is your best line of defense,” said Rebecca Simcik, UHS interim medical director. “Other ways to decrease your risk of getting the flu or spreading to others is staying home when you're sick, wearing a mask if you need to leave home when you're sick, and washing your hands regularly. Many of the public health measures we are all familiar with now due to COVID-19 work well to fight flu also.” 

The influenza virus is spread by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. 

The best way to prevent getting infected is by:  

  • Washing your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds. 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. 

  • Avoid sharing personal items, such as eating or drinking utensils. 

  • Minimizing close contact with people who have symptoms of respiratory illnesses, such as a cough or sneeze. 

  • Maintaining a clean environment. Use disinfectants that are effective against a wide range of pathogens to clean frequently touched surfaces. 

  • Wearing a mask.  

For more information on how to prevent and treat the flu, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s flu website.  

Last Updated November 18, 2021