(Updated with clinic information Jan. 26 and Jan. 28, 2009 – originally published Jan. 23, 2009.)

medical syringeFlu season is still here – and currently SMU is seeing an outbreak among the student population, say Nancy Merrill, M.D., and Peter Davis, M.D., co-medical directors of SMU’s Memorial Health Center.

To keep the flu from spreading, Merrill and Davis recommend the following steps to keep our campus community healthy:

  • Get a flu vaccination if you have not done so already.
  • If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever and chills, cough, body aches), see a medical provider early. To be effective, antiviral medications should be started within 48 hours after symptoms begin.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with either a disposable tissue or your sleeve.
  • Wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer frequently.
  • If you may have flu, stay at home to avoid spreading the illness to others.

In response to the outbreak, the Memorial Health Center is offering free flu shots on the following days in the Hughes-Trigg Commuter Lounge and Umphrey Lee Dining Hall:

Monday, Jan. 26 – noon-4 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 27 – 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

There will be an additional flu clinic on campus 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, January 29, in the Hughes-Trigg Commuter Lounge. The Dallas County Health Department will have free flu shots for students, faculty and staff, as well as limited supplies of FluMist nasal-spray vaccine available to students at cost ($20). FluMist is reserved for students only at this time. Students who live in student housing or have been exposed to the flu virus are encouraged to consider FluMist, as this form of vaccine helps build immunity more quickly than the flu shot.

Vaccinations are also available at Dallas County Health and Human Services, 2377 N. Stemmons Fwy. Hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. No appointment is necessary for flu shots; call 214-819-2162 for more information.

For more information on the flu, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.