Tag Archives: Student Health Services

TSU Health Sciences Experts Share Advice For Students, People Concerned About Contracting Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The coronavirus has existed for years, causing people to have respiratory infections, essentially colds.  However, Tennessee State University public health experts say the current outbreak is the result of a new strand, and that researchers are quickly trying to develop an antiviral drug.

TSU experts say students and Middle Tennessee residents can take precautionary measures to minimize their chances of contracting the coronavirus.

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, associate professor and interim Masters of Public Health program director at TSU, held an in-depth discussion with students in her Health Conditions In Functions and Disabilities Class about the coronavirus.

“The best protection is to get immunized to what we know. Many people are probably so worried about the coronavirus that they are getting the flu,” she explains.  “When the flu season starts, I always recommend to everyone the flu shot. When your immune system is alert, and it is alerted by the flu shot, other things don’t hit it as hard.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are 15 persons in the United States who have tested positive for the COVID-19, the official name given to this new coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan China. An East Tennessee woman recently tested positive for the coronavirus when she and her husband were about to leave quarantine on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan.

Brenda K. Batts

Brenda K. Batts, assistant professor and director of clinical education at TSU, says they should not be fearful because of the effective quarantining of people who have tested positive for the virus. However, she says there are still preventive measures that can be taken.

“Just really be very cautious about people who have coughs and colds and have high temperatures. If you are experiencing that, get checked by your physician, but don’t expose others or yourself,” Batts says. ”Make sure you use lots of hand washing and sanitizing techniques, such as when you go to gas stations, restaurants or whenever you go anywhere in the public. Keep some hand sanitizer with you and clean your hands very well.”

Coronavris symptoms, which can last from 2-14 days, include runny nose, fever, headache, sore throat, feeling unwell, and cough. To prevent the disease, the CDC recommends: washing hands; avoiding touching eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; staying home when sick; covering cough or sneeze with tissue; and cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces.

Robyn Hanna, a senior public health major who works as a patient care technician at St. Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, says she’s not concerned about contracting the virus at work because of the thorough precautionary measures they are instructed to take.

“As soon as you walk through the doors, there’s a sign, ‘If you have any of these symptoms, here’s a mask. Put it on.’ It’s at every exit and every entrance,” says Hanna, a Mississippi Gulf Coast native.

“Working on the floors we know people that are diagnosed with diseases.  If they are being tested for it, they still get the precautionary items on the door. All the nurses and doctors and techs are vaccinated.  That’s a must at the hospital.”

Fellow students Joseph Racine and Meleah Haley have varying concerns regarding the disease that recently surfaced in China. Racine works as a car maintenance specialist at the Nashville International Airport when not attending classes. The senior occupational therapy major says he has noticed travelers at the airport wearing personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks. Racine says he is not afraid of contracting the virus.

“Most of the time that I am dealing with the rental cars that I touch, I have on gloves.  Most of us wear gloves, but the people who don’t, you just kind of let them know, ‘You might want to put on some gloves,’” says Racine.

Haley, a senior health science major with a minor in public health, says she is concerned about the virus, primarily because of her upcoming travel plans.

“I’ll be taking an airplane. I’ll be going to Miami. Everybody knows that’s a place where a lot of people are,” says Haley, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native who is considering wearing a protective mask while flying.  “I am really concerned about that. I’m even concerned about being in the airport and being on the airplane with all these cases of coronavirus.  I don’t feel threatened at the university.  I don’t necessarily feel threatened in the community, but I am definitely going to be alert.”

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, associate professor and interim Masters of Public Health program director at TSU, discussing coronavirus with students. (TSU News Service, Michael McLendon)

Dr. Inman supports wearing a mask while traveling, she says students and professors should understand that wearing masks to class for protection may create suspicion that they have contracted the virus.

“If you wear a mask, it is just as protective for you as the person wearing the mask to keep you from catching something,” she says. “But, if you are on a college campus and you put one on because you are concerned, everybody thinks you have it.”

Batts says students and employees who feel sick should not attend class or visit campus.

“I do think when students or faculty have colds or fevers, and they are coughing, that they should not be coming to campus.  They should be seen to make sure they don’t have any form of that virus,” she says. “Most of the time people transport any type of respiratory virus to the environment by tabletops, instruments, equipment and labs.”

Walretta H. Chandler, TSU’s Student Health Services nurse, says students experiencing flu-like symptoms should visit the university’s health center located in in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center, Kean Hall, Room 304. Students can also call (615) 963-5291 to schedule an appointment.

Visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html to learn more about the coronavirus. For more information on TSU’s College of Health Sciences, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/

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Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Health Experts Urge Tennesseans To Get Flu Shot

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – If you’re still unsure about whether or not to get a flu shot, Tennessee State University researchers have a message for you: Stop thinking about it, and get one. This comes as the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC) observes the first week in December as National Influenza Week.

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, TSU Associate Professor of Public Health, Healthcare Administration and Health Sciences

“Most people think you get the flu, you just get sick, and you recover,” said Dr. Wendelyn Inman, TSU associate professor of Public Health, Healthcare Administration and Health Sciences. “That is true if you are relatively healthy. But it is important for us to be sure that, like in any group of people, most people are immunized so that the frail and fragile are not exposed to the flu and die from it.”

According to the CDC, people at high risk of developing flu-related complications include children younger than 5 (but especially children younger than 2 years old), adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and American Indians and Alaskan Natives.

One popular misconception, said Inman, who teaches Epidemiology on the undergraduate and graduate levels, is that individuals actually contract the flu as a result of taking the vaccination. She said suspicions about taking the flu shot persist because many people remain unaware that infectious diseases have an incubation period.

“Let’s say you went to a cocktail party, and you got exposed. Then you go to the pharmacist to get the prescription on Monday, and you have flu symptoms on Friday. You’re going to think you got the flu from the flu shot,” she said. “Well, actually you didn’t get the flu from getting the flu shot. You got it from someone else. It’s the timing.”

Dr. Ivan Davis, TSU director of Student Health Services

Dr. Ivan Davis, TSU director of Student Health Services, said one of the most dangerous consequences of not getting a flu shot is that it can lead to pneumonia. He said even if the vaccination does not have the same strain of the virus, taking it usually makes the illness much milder. Instead of being five to seven days and protracted, he said the illness is “shortened by several days.”

Davis said it takes about four weeks for the immunity from the shot to “kick-in.” He said people are unable to get the illness from the vaccine because it contains a dead virus.

“The vaccination uses the genome, the nucleus of the virus, so there is no way you can get the flu from the shot. It’s not a live virus,” he said. “Even if you come down with a different strain, it has been proven that because you have had the shot, your chance of having a real bad infection is lessened.”

The exact timing and duration of flu season can vary extending from October through May, but most peak between December and February, according to the CDC. In 2005, the agency designated the first full week in December to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. This year the center recommends that only injectable flu vaccines be given.

Inman said the changing nature of the virus is another reason she stresses taking the flu shot.

“To me it’s too big of a gamble to take for your health because each year the virus changes and the severity is different. No one can verify that this is a mild version and not the killer version that swept through in 1918,” she added.

According to health experts, in 1918 the flu pandemic killed an estimated 500 million people worldwide including about 675,000 Americans.

“Any immunization keeps anything you catch from being as bad because it jumpstarts your immune system,” Inman said. “You’ll be safer and less sorry if you get the flu shot.”

The Tennessee Department of Health reports that the highest number of flu cases in Tennessee are typically recorded in January and February each year.

For more information about where you can get the flu shot in Tennessee, visit http://tn.gov/health/topic/localdepartments.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.