Stick it to stay healthy, Student Health says

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) along with the American College Health Association (ACHA) has a recommended list of immunizations that college students, including students ranging in ages from 17-26, should receive.

“Viral meningitis has the highest risk for students who live in the residence halls of college campuses than any other place,” said Brenda Andersen, the associate director of SDSU Student Health and Counseling Services. “When you put that many people together, then things can spread quickly.”

Meningitis is an infection of the coverings around the brain and spinal cord. This disease can be prevented through a simple vaccination available at any local clinic. A meningitis immunization is required for all incoming freshmen who are planning to live in SDSU’s residence halls.

Two properly administered MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) immunizations, 28 days apart, are also required for all incoming freshman. MMR shots are given before the entrance of kindergarten but need to be given again before college to boost immunity.

As of right now there are 59 non-compliant students to the immunization requirements, said Andersen.

Gardasil is another vaccine that is highly recommended for women ages 9-26. Gardasil is a vaccine that helps prevent the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that may cause genital warts and cervical cancer. In the U.S., 20 million people are infected with HPV and 3,700 women die of cervical cancer every year. There is no cure for HPV, and the immunization is available at student health for free with the help of most insurance companies.

Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis is an immunization that is given in early childhood, but students often forget to get their tetanus boosters at 16, said Andersen. The immunization is highly recommended for students in close contact with pertussis outbreaks.

The Hepatitis B series is another vaccine that is highly recommended for students. It is a series of three doses that provides optimal protection for Hepatitis B. This disease is spread through sex with an infected person, sharing objects with blood of an infected person and/or getting a tattoo or piercing with non-sterile equipment. This vaccine is especially important for those students who plan to study internationally.

Students planning to travel internationally may fill out a travel health form at Student Health and Counseling Services in West Hall. It is recommended that students start receiving immunizations three to six months before their trip to get the full effect of the immunizations. The employees at student health will explain the appropriate precautions to take when traveling to a foreign country. They also provide testing for any diseases students may have picked up while overseas. It is best to make an appointment ahead of time by calling 688-4157 or stopping by West Hall.

The final recommended immunization for college students is an annual influenza (flu) shot. Student Health provides this immunization, and they also had a free clinic. Student Health has given out approximately 450 flu shots this year and another 279 flu shots at the free clinic in the Union.