Nacogdoches, Texas (KETK) — One out of five Texans will get influenza this year. Influenza, or the flu, is a highly contagious respiratory virus much more severe than a common cold that can keep you sick for seven to 10 days. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.
Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) Student Health Services received a $1,980 grant from Texas Medical Association’s Be Wise — ImmunizeSM program to provide flu vaccinations to students. By improving vaccinations rates, the university aims to prevent a flu outbreak on campus and throughout the Nacogdoches community.
Penny Jeffery, MD, director of Health Services at SFA, said many students “bring the flu back with them” after the holiday break, which can cause the illness to spread throughout the university population and to the rest of the community. The Be Wise ― Immunize clinic will help protect students who receive the vaccinations and those to whom it could potentially spread.
SFA Student Health Services offers flu shots annually but plans to vaccinate an additional 165 students at this year’s free clinic with the grant funding. Nearly one-third of the Nacogdoches population is an enrolled Stephen F. Austin student.
The flu can be especially harmful to older people, young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions. Some 200,000 people in the nation are hospitalized annually from flu-related illness; some even die. An annual flu vaccination is recommended for anyone six months of age and older.
The Be Wise — Immunize Local Impact Grants help local communities provide free and low-cost vaccinations for uninsured Texans. TMA’s Be Wise ― Immunize program has given more than 237,000 shots to Texas children, adolescents, and adults since the program began in 2004. Be Wise — Immunize and the local impact grants are funded by a grant TMA has received from the TMA Foundation (TMAF) thanks to generous support from H-E-B and TMF Health Quality Institute, and gifts from physicians and their families.
“TMA Foundation and its donors are proud to support this effort because immunizations prevent serious diseases and are one of many steps we all need to take to live a healthier lifestyle,” said G. Sealy Massingill, MD, TMAF president.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 47,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 112 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans. TMA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the association and raises funds to support the public health and science priority initiatives of TMA and the family of medicine.