Last week, Health Services’ staff attended a meeting and training session to kick off Health Services’ flu-fighting campaign for the 2013-2014 flu season.
Preparation to combat this year’s batch of influenza viruses, however, has been months in the making.
“This year it all came together very well. I am happy and proud of our efforts,” said Dr. Vincent Serio, the director of Medical Services at University Health Services. “We’ve done a lot over the years to streamline this initiative.”
Each year, the flu-fighting campaign worldwide is revamped to target new strains of the flu.
What will flu season look like this year?
“Even the Center for Disease Control is noncommittal. We won’t know until it hits. Vaccines are only as good as the predictions for what viruses are coming around that year, and those are very hard to predict,” Serio said.
Health Services also revamps their campaign on a yearly basis to best meet the needs and demands of the student body.
The key strategies employed by Health Services to fight the flu are advocating vaccination and respiratory hygiene, managing ill health care professionals and instigating patient care precautions.
“Health care provider recommendation makes a difference,” Serio said. “It’s a personal touch from your family doctor or nurse practitioner that can motivate a patient to get the vaccine.”
Spreading the word on the importance of vaccination is at the forefront of the flu-fighting campaign.
“If I was highly advised to get a vaccine, then yes for sure I would get one,” said Abdul Alkandari, a freshman at Boise State studying civil engineering.
Health Services stocks the trivalent form of the influenza virus which is effective in vaccinating a patient against three strains of the flu.
Two of these strains are considered A-viruses, and one is a B-virus.
A-viruses are the most problematic influenza viruses because they provide the greatest risk of developing into a pandemic.
B-viruses are generally considered milder illness, but vaccinating against them can provide broader protection.
According to Serio, 1,216 vaccines were administered through Boise State Health Services last year.
“We’ve ordered 1,400 vaccines this year,” said Julia Beard, the assistant director of Clinical Operations and Quality Assurance. “We have 700 of those already, and have used 350 in the past week already. I anticipate using all of those vaccines and possibly ordering more.”