Fighting the flu for 22 years

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The USF College of Public Health hosted its annual Free Flu Shot Drive on Friday, Oct. 19.

In its 22nd year, the drive provided 886 doses of the flu vaccine on a first come, first served basis, to the Tampa Bay community.

USF College of Public Health Dean Donna Petersen with USF College of Nursing students at the Free Flu Shot Drive (Photo by Ellen Kent).

USF College of Public Health Dean Donna Petersen with USF College of Nursing students at the Free Flu Shot Drive (Photo by Ellen Kent).

The longstanding community service is a collaboration between the College of Public Health, the College of Nursing, the Morsani College of Medicine, USF Health and the Florida Department of Health – Hillsborough County.

A USF College of Nursing student administering flu shots (Photo by Caitlin Keough).

A USF College of Nursing student administering flu shots (Photo by Caitlin Keough).

USF nursing and medical students, who have already successfully completed clinical training, administered the shots under the clinical supervision of an interdisciplinary team.

Margaret Ewen, MSPH, BSN, RN, registered nurse and CON adjunct faculty instructor, and MCOM faculty are among those who supervised students.

“We had a much more interprofessional focus this year, with undergraduate and graduate public health students leading educational exhibits and nursing, medical, pharmacy and physician assistant students administering the flu shots,” said Ellen Kent, faculty coordinator for the USF Health Service Corps.

Margaret Ewen with USF College of Nursing and Pharmacy faculty (Photo by Ellen Kent).

Margaret Ewen (second from the right) with USF College of Nursing and Pharmacy faculty (Photo by Ellen Kent).

The event also included educational displays from public health student and community groups, on topics ranging from genetic counseling to information on protecting yourself against infections.

Volunteers with their educational displays (Photo by Ellen Kent).

Volunteers with their educational displays (Photo by Ellen Kent).

According to the Florida Department of Health, it is estimated that between 15% and 40% of the population will develop illness from influenza every year.

Continuing our Health and Wellness Facebook Live, Friday we visited with USF College of Public Health’s Dean Dr. Donna Petersen and Dr. Jill Roberts. They shared why everyone over six months should get the flu shot this year and dispelled myths about the vaccine. #MakingLifeBetter

Posted by USF Health-University of South Florida on Friday, October 19, 2018

Dean Donna Petersen and Dr. Jill Roberts shared why everyone over six months should get the flu shot this year and dispelled myths about the vaccine (Video by Michelle Young and Shelby Kaplan, USF Health).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months of age and older receive the flu vaccine, as the contagious respiratory virus can lead to severe illness or even death, placing children under five, pregnant women and adults ages 65 and older at higher risk.

Flu season typically runs from October to May in the U.S., with peaks occurring between December and February, according to the CDC. To view the latest influenza surveillance tracking data, visit the CDC’s FluView webpage.

To see more photos, visit this photo album.

Story by Caitlin Keough, USF College of Public Health

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