With the flu clinics over at the Notre Dame Campus there are still numerous ways to receive the flu shot. The flu shot is still available on a walk in basis at the Health Centre in room HM-08 on the NDC campus.
You can also get your flu shot on a walk-in basis at the Health Office based at 306 Paterson Global Foods building.
The Health Centre recommends that staff and students print and complete the immunization consent form (sections A-D) that is available at on the Health Services website. It is also recommended to phone the applicable Health Centre ( NDC 632-2238, PGF 631-3386) before coming in for a flu shot so that they can advise you on when it is best to come in. Remember as with any clinic depending on circumstances you may have to wait if the clinic becomes busy and there is a 15 min waiting period after you shot.
Although WRHA Winnipeg Mass Flu Clinics are now closed, it is not too late to get the flu shot from your regular health care provider or from your local community health office. A list of locations and phone numbers of public health offices that can give you the flu shot is available on the WRHA webpage (http://www.wrha.mb.ca/healthinfo/a-z/influenza/clinics.php).
If you are looking for more information to help you make the decision whether or not to receive the flu shot this year, please visit the following blogs found on the RRC Wellness blog page (http://blogs.rrc.ca/wellness/). These blogs address common questions and concerns regarding influenza and vaccination against the flu in an easy to read and compact manner.
According to the Government of Manitoba the peak incidence of influenza occurs during the months of December and January each year. Although it is only October it is always a good idea to get the vaccinated against influenza early in the flu season, as it may take up to two weeks to build the required antibodies that will protect you against the flu.
From Health Services Practicum Nursing Students Alexis and Thomas
Each year many myths surround influenza and the decision whether or not to get vaccinated. In order to make the best and most informed decision whether or not to get the flu shot, it is important to understand what information is based on fact, and what is a common misperception or “myth”. Here are five of the most common myths about the flu and flu vaccine:
Myth #1: The flu vaccine can give you the flu. FALSE
The flu vaccine contains only deactivated or “dead” influenza virus. This means that the vaccination against the flue cannot cause you to catch influenza. Influenza nasal sprays may be referred to as “live attenuated influenza vaccines” as they do contain live flu virus, however it is important to note that these viruses are engineered to remove the parts of the virus that actually make people sick. The reason this myth is still around is because people often mistake the side effects of the vaccine (such as a runny nose or sore throat lasting for days) as them having caught the flu.
Myth #2: The flu is annoying but it’s harmless. FALSE
As stated in our first blog “If you think flu season is coming up…you’re right!”,
people commonly mistake the “stomach flu” and the common cold as influenza. In reality influenza is much more serious than either of these conditions. The flu
will not only sideline you from school or work for up to two weeks, influenza hospitalizes 200, 000 people/year in the U.S, and it kills almost the same number of people per year as breast cancer kills! Influenza is more than annoying… It is potentially deadly.
Myth #3: People who are young & healthy don’t need to worry about getting vaccinated against the flu. FALSE
While it is true that a young and healthy person will likely fully recover after the flu, no one is protected against influenza without the getting the flu shot.
Being young and healthy does not make you immune to the harsh symptoms of the flu or how long you will suffer from it. If you do not receive the flu vaccine you’re at greater risk of catching the flu, meaning you are more likely to suffer from sudden onset fever, coughing, headaches, sore throat, runny nose and extreme fatigue for up to two weeks! Students and staff need to be aware that catching the flu will mean missing numerous days of both school and work. This can all easily be avoided by getting the flu shot! Another important reason for individuals to get vaccinated is that influenza is easily transmitted to your loved ones. Even if you are healthy, your young children, chronically ill family members or friends, and the elderly have a greater risk of catching the flu, suffering from its symptoms, and are at greater risk of actually dying from the flu!
Myth #4: Flu shot protects me against influenza for years. FALSE
As stated in our second blog “How is the flu vaccine made? Is it safe?”, the flu virus undergoes seasonal genetic drifts that change the identity of the virus each flu season, and allow it to go undetected by your immune system. Vaccination against the flu is specifically targeted at the strains of the influenza virus that are believed to circulate during this flu season only. This means that the immunity you received from being exposed to the flu or getting a flu vaccine in previous years will not be effective in the next flu season (or in following years).
Myth #5: The flu shot is the only way to protect myself from the flu. FALSE
Each year researchers do their best to design the influenza vaccine to target the most common strains of influenza circulating in the world. Sadly, this does not mean that the strains the vaccine protects you against will be the strains that you actually encounter-you may still get the flu even though you got the flu shot. One of the major benefits of getting vaccinated against influenza is that you may only suffer mild to moderate flu symptoms rather than severe symptoms as a result of the protection you do receive from the flu shot! It is also very important to wash your hands often, cover your cough, and avoid individuals who appear sick to protect yourself as the influenza virus spreads easily through coughing, touching and sneezing. By keeping your hands clean and away from your face and mouth you can also decrease your risk of getting the flu.
For more information concerning the flu and influenza vaccination check out the
previously posted influenza blogs on the RRC Wellness Blog page, or visit WebMD to learn about more myths.
For dates and times of flu clinics held at RRC please visit the Health Services webstie for more information and to download the needed form to take with you to the clinic. Clinics start at Stevenson Aviation Oct 22, NDC Oct 23,24,25, EDC Nov 1 and LTC Nov 7,8. There is no cost for getting the flu vaccine.
From Health Services Practicum Nursing Students Alexis and Thomas
Let’s talk about Sleep!
Transitioning to college life can be tough and may contribute to loss of sleep and fatigue. Sleep debt is the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep. It is what leads to mental and physical fatigue.There are a lot of choices to make when you enter post-secondary education. Choices that might help you balance your demand include whether to work, how many classes to take, and how long study time should be. There are two main reasons for lack of college student sleep:
- Late night studying
- “Social” commitments and late night partying
You can’t give up either of the above on a consistent basis. But your body needs sleep on a consistent basis, and this conflicts with the trappings of a successful and fun college life. Here are some tips and information that can help you with sleeping as a College student.
- Did you know that everyone has their own unique sleep needs? You should be able to go to sleep at the same time, get up at the same time and feel rested during the day. Find out how much sleep you need by trying to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night for a week, see how you feel and adjust from there. No need for naps. It may take a week to adjust, being sleep deprived students that you are, but you can do it. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep at night.
- According to the National Sleep Foundation hitting SNOOZE does not help. It actually makes you more tired throughout the day. The snooze button is one of life’s little luxuries. At best, it’s a psychological crutch. At worst, it’s throwing off your brain chemistry for the day. As well, it’s certainly not helping you get any real sleep; you do not make it back to REM sleep that helps you feel rested. Set your alarm for when you need to get up, get up and give yourself time to get ready without being rushed!
Are you often feeling “run down” Did you know?
- Being sleep deprived impacts the immune system. Our ability to fight off infections becomes more difficult. This puts us at risk during cold and flu season, which is now!
- The heart and lung function is adversely affected by lack of sleep and is associated with worsening chronic lung and heart disease and high blood pressure.
- A common myth: Watching TV helps you sleep. This is untrue as TV is stimulating and can interfere with falling asleep.
Tips for sleep:
- Turn off your cell phone. Pick a time, like after 10pm to turn off your phone so its not a distraction
- Set yourself clear boundaries. Keep a regular sleep wake cycle, tell yourself you will only stay out so long, and stick to it.
- Have a study buddy. You can keep each other on tract and on time.
- Exercise. Daily activity can help you get a deeper more restful sleep during the night. Experts generally recommend exercising at least 2-3 hours before bed. However, everyone is different, so try to fit exercise into your schedule where you can. For tips on exercise see our previous blog.
- Put your computer to sleep. Bright screen savers can be distracting and keep you from sleep.
If your fatigue does not improve with consistent restful sleep, seek medical advice as you could have a medical condition resulting in your fatigue. For depression, sleep apnea, anemia or diabetes to name a few.
For more information on sleep tips see BedTimeNetwork or American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Researchers believe lack of sleep may contribute to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety in College students. For more information on mental health and sleep see Mental Health Canada.
Services at Red River College such as counselling, tutoring and academic support check out the RRC student services website click here. These services can help relieve some of the burdens causing you to miss out on sleep.
Visit us next week for info on stress and tips for dealing with it.
From Health Services U of M Practicum Nursing Students
Alexis and Candice
Physical activity improves health and wellbeing. According to Health Canada it can reduce stress, strengthen the heart and lungs, increase energy levels, as well as help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that individuals get at least two and a half hours of exercise a week, keeping an emphasis on getting moderate to vigorous physical activity broken down into sessions of ten minutes or more. As students we know the challenges of incorporating exercise into a busy schedule. Between the classes, studying, travel time, work, families and other commitments it often seems like there is not enough hours in the day. The idea of healthy living often falls to the wayside. According to a study done by McMaster University, regular exercise tends to steeply decline among youth as they move to university or college. Researchers found a 24% decrease in the 12 years from adolescence to early adulthood, with the steepest decline occurring during the transition to higher education. That is not good for young adults who need all their energy for school and home life!
Keeping physically active is key to a healthy lifestyle but remember it is best to check with your doctor before starting a new routine. If you have any chronic illness such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease it is important to consult a physician before starting. We have found some tips on how to incorporate exercise into your daily life, all of which we have tried and found have worked for us.
- When waiting for a bus, a ride to work or to start school every morning, try exercising.
- It gets your blood flowing and makes you feel more awake. Simple exercises such as calf raises are easy.
- If you want to increase the intensity of your workouts you can try doing squats or lunges. Check out the American Council on Exercise for detailed instruction on how to do these properly.
- Take more trips.
- If you have to bring the two garbage cans to the road make two trips to the curb instead of carrying both cans at the same time.
- You can park farther away from the store, which will result in more walking to and fro.
- Use apps to help you workout. Yes there is an app for that!
- Apps by Runtastic help you stick to a workout routine and they’re FREE. Some keep track of how many sit-ups or squats you do while another can track how far you’ve run and how many calories you’ve burned.
- If you can’t find time to fit a workout in, track your daily activity is by using the Runtastic pedometer. This app tracks how many steps you walked as well as how many calories you’ve burned in a day.
- When you’re watching television, get up and move during a commercial break.
- During a commercial break get up and do 20 jumping jacks, sit-ups or lunges.
- By doing so you are getting on average 15 minutes of exercise when watching an hour-long television show.
- Sneak in workout.
- If you have an hour lunch break take the first 30 minutes to eat and the next 30 minutes to walk around campus or do three flights of stairs. This will boost your energy for the rest of the day.
- Utilize various resources within the RRC community. To learn about various facilities on both the Notre Dame and Exchange district campuses visit here. RRC Athletics and Recreation Services offers a variety of fitness classes, personal training and fitness assessments. For more information on any of these programs call (204)-632-3030.
- Acknowledge that you are awesome for exercising!
- Any sort of exercise, regardless of the intensity or duration, benefits your heart, muscles, mind, and overall healthfulness. Anything you can squeeze into your day is great. Aim to never leave a workout thinking anything other than, “I’m super proud of myself for what I did right there—I’m the best”
Stay tuned next week, as we will be discussing the importance of sleep and giving tips on how you can feel more energized throughout the day. We appreciate any feedback or comments about what we have discussed or what you would like us to talk about.
Health Services EDC Practicum Nursing Students Alexis and Candice
In last week’s blog you were informed that getting the vaccine does not guarantee that you will not get sick – but why? First of all, there are many strains of the influenza virus. If you do get the flu shot but come into contact with an influenza strain that was not in that season’s flu vaccine, the vaccine does not protect you against it. The vaccination only protects against 3-4 of the common influenza strains. Anyone with a chronic illness, the elderly, and very young children have weaker immune systems. As a result of their weaker immune system these individuals may not produce the same desired immune response to the vaccine as a healthy adult, and as a result are still at risk of getting the flu. That being said however, the immunity that they do get from receiving the vaccine is still better than not receiving the flu shot at all. By receiving the flu vaccine the chronically ill, elderly and very young may be able to prevent the virus from causing more damage it could have otherwise caused if they were not vaccinated.
A little about the virus…
There are different types (also called “strains”) of the influenza virus. Each year these strains undergo genetic drifts, which are minor changes in its genetics. Our immune system operates by identifying specific antigens on the influenza virus. These antigens are the elements that trigger your body to build up an immune response, resulting in future immunity. Since our body’s immune system is very specific, even small changes in these antigens can allow the virus to escape being detected. This means that you will need a new flu vaccine each year.
What is in the vaccine and how is it made?
First, researchers identify which strains of the influenza virus we are most likely to encounter this season by looking at what influenza viruses are circulating around other continents (such as Asia). The most common circulating viruses (usually 3 to 4 strains) are selected and are injected into chicken eggs. Once the viruses have multiplied in the eggs, they are collected, killed, and made into the vaccine. The influenza virus used in vaccinations is DEAD, meaning you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine! Each batch of flu vaccine is tested numerous times to ensure proper concentration, that the desired “antigen” (the element that triggers your body to build immunity) is present, sterility, and most importantly safety. Once the vaccine is approved by the manufacturer, the vaccine is submitted to Health Canada to make sure it is both safe and effective. Health Canada also performs on-site evaluations of the vaccine manufacturing process and requires samples for testing in Health Canada laboratories. Vaccines are only ready for use after they are approved by Health Canada. Health Canada is responsible for continuous monitoring of vaccine safety and any side effects once the vaccine is distributed for use.
Make sure to check out next week’s blog that clears up some of the common myths about the flu and the flu vaccine!
From Health Services Student Nurses Thomas and Alexis
As students it is often hard to stay healthy while going to class, cooking and cleaning, and finding time to exercise. As important as studying is, it is even more important to remember that your health affects your marks and your potential as a RRC student.
This blog series will run over the next five weeks and will consist of tips on how to eat right, access the right health services for you, and preserve your mental health and wellbeing.
For example, it is important to start your school day right by eating a healthy breakfast. Canada’s Food Guide recommends a variety of healthy servings of protein or meat, grain products, fruit, and milk products to start your day off right. As students it is sometimes hard to plan a healthy diet on a student budget, but it is possible! Visit here for the Health Canada website for great healthy and easy meal ideas!
Individuals often find it hard to incorporate the recommended 60 minutes of activity into a day full of studying and classes. Did you know that an easy and productive way to get your 60 minutes of daily exercise is to try is studying while walking on a treadmill? If you don’t have a treadmill, you could get your 60 minutes of exercise by breaking it up into short 10 minute intervals. Do this by going for a walk or climbing a few flights of stairs. For more great tips and tricks for busy students on the go, and for those who hope to keep up a healthy lifestyle check back next week!
Health Services Clinical Nursing Students Alexis and Candice
Flu, cold or stomach flu – which is it?
You may be wondering: Do I have the flu, or stomach flu, or just a cold? Contrary to popular belief, the “stomach flu”, which is the general term used to describe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, is not actually caused by influenza. Influenza is a respiratory virus, meaning it affects your lungs and chest, not your stomach.
Although they can seem similar, a common cold causes a runny/stuffy nose, sneezing, a sore throat and is much less serious than a flu. The greatest distinguishing factor between the two is the gradual onset of a cold as opposed to the sudden feeling of severe sickness caused by the flu. In fact, an influenza infection can sideline you from school and work for up to two weeks!
What is influenza then, and what is the big deal?
The “flu” (short for influenza) is caused by the influenza virus, which invades your nose, throat and lungs. This is also how the virus spreads from person to person. All the lovely folks you see coughing, sneezing, and blowing their nose around you are victims to the virus’ diabolical strategy of infecting as many people as it can, as quickly as it can.
Picture this: You’re on a bus and someone has just sneezed beside you. You may not know this, but it’s likely you were unfortunate enough to inhale a good dose of your neighbour’s respiratory droplets. Depending on your health and immune status, you may be in for a rough ride of sudden onset fever (>38 *C), coughing, headaches, sore throat, runny nose, weakness and fatigue that can sometimes last two weeks or longer. Another characteristic feature of the flu, commonly described as the feeling of “getting hit by a truck”, is severe muscle and joint pain. It is also important to note that children may show somewhat different symptoms of influenza than adults (such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting), as well as the symptoms listed above.
Why a flu vaccine?
A flu vaccine is the best known way to prevent you from the most common types of flu. That being said, it does not provide a 100% guarantee that you will not get the flu. Find out why and how effective the flu vaccine is in our following blog!
Check out our following blogs to learn about how the flu vaccine is manufactured, benefits of getting the flu vaccine and more interesting information as well as flu clinic dates.
From Health Services Practicum Nursing Students Thomas and Alexis
September 6, 2013 • Written by Health Services
Yes they are small and it makes one squeemish to think about them…but they are a reality. They are persistent and they are found in all areas of life, whether in a hotel, upscale apartments & hotels, transit, theatres and everyday dwellings. They ride into your life on electronics, furniture, used clothing and from the last holiday destinations.
As much as we don’t like them, they are an issue and it is best to be alert and prepared. They do not cause or spread disease but the bites can be itchy and if scratched, like any other bite, can become infected. Using anti-itch or bite creams can help.
Most importantly do not ignore them, they hide in light and come out at night. Below are some ways to address this issue. If planning to use chemicals call a professional.
Below are some non-chemical ideas. There is a Winnipeg registry on places that have had or have bedbugs in Winnipeg or if you are reporting you found them. City of Winnipeg is also an excellent resource.
Some non-chemical ways to treat Bed Bugs include:
- Place dry clothes into the dryer on high heat for a minimum of 15-20 minutes. This will effectively kill all stages, including the egg stage, without damaging the clothing.
- Alternatively, wash bedding and clothing in hot water (120oF) and laundry detergent.
- Use hot steam along baseboards, wallpaper, cracks or other areas where Bed Bugs and eggs can hide. Remember, if they can get into a space, they are likely there.
- Vacuum often with strong suction all possible places with Bed Bugs including the mattress, box spring, bedding and surrounding area. Scraping of the small grayish white 1 mm eggs has to occur to remove them. Vacuum daily and empty vacuum immediately and place into a sealed, tied up garbage bag and dispose of in the regular garbage.
- Use a scrub brush to remove Bed Bugs and eggs from the seams of mattresses.
- Stuffed toys can be put in the clothes dryer for a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes on high heat.
- If the material is heavily infested, treat with a properly registered pesticide or hire an exterminator to treat your location or seal up in plastic and remove the infested material . If feasible and practicable, if throwing out furniture, beds or bed frames that are suspected of having Bed Bugs damage them so that they are unusable to prevent someone from picking them up and taking them home. Wrap in plastic before taking them out to the garbage or down a hall. If large put a sign to not use. If possible treat the infested materials with heat above 120oF or 49oC
- Do not bring materials into a new location or from a location where Bed Bugs may have been present or are a current issue. Bed Bugs are easily and commonly transported from location to location on anything that can hold or hide bed bugs. This includes literally any household items, electronics, books that may have potential hiding spots.
- Treating materials that are infested with Bed Bugs by using cold temperatures (below 0oC) is NOT an effective method for control as the temperatures need to be well below what normal household freezers can provide. It can be used to slow down adults and nymphs so that materials can be properly washed, dried or vacuumed. Cold temperatures at this level will not be an effective control for killing eggs. Do think because it has been outside in the cold, it will kill them, it won’t.
- Placing bed legs in protectors, using bed-bug proof mattress covers and pillow cases, and double-sided tape around frames can help catch them.
From Health Services
September 4, 2013 • Written by Health Services
It is a busy time getting ready for either the first year or a returning year to school. One way to be prepared is to ensure every person has up-to-date immunizations. Schools are great places to spread or catch germs and infectious diseases. Protect yourself and others from vaccine preventable diseases.
The number one way to do this is to get immunized.
- Tetanus/Diptheria/Whooping cough is only needed every 10 years.
- You should have had 2 MMRs, (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) or have a blood test that indicates your immunity level is protective. If not immune you can get immunized with vaccine.The same for chickenpox.
- The annual influenza shot is another way of keeping us from getting and spreading a potentially severe and at times deadly illness
We protect each other and our community by being immunized against all vaccine preventable diseases. There are other recommended vaccines against meningitis, human papilloma as well as pneumonia depending on age and medical condition.
Check the Manitoba Health Website for current recommendations and what vaccines are free. Once eligible you are always eligible. A number of vaccines, including Hepatitis B, are given through public school programs so check the school in your area to find out when this will be offered.
From Health Services
Are you traveling to other countries or even to other Provinces in Canada?
Cases of measles are up nearly five times from last year in six provinces. Make sure you and your family are vaccinated for preventable diseases before you travel.
Did you know that measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world?
It is a vaccine preventable disease and in 2013 cases are again rising. Get vaccinated before you go. Watch your health when you return. Measles are being reported in Canada, UK, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific-Common holiday destinations. It takes only one active case on a plane to expose and potentially infect all passengers. Be safe for yourself and others. Check all the family members are up to date on immunizations-including measles. For more detailed information on measles check here