Health Center sees increase in visits

This fall, there has been an increase in the number of student visits to registered nurses at the Health Center compared to last year at this time. In September 2010, the Health Center had 795 visits. This September, the number increased to 1060 visits. In October 2010, the Health Center had 851 visits. As of Saturday, the Health Center has had 685 visits so far this month.

While the visits for specific illnesses, such as “upper respiratory tract infections, strep throat, mononucleosis, gastrointestinal illnesses and a variety of other viral illnesses” remain relatively unchanged, the overall frequency of these illnesses has risen, said Ruth Harrison, director of Health Services. According to Harrison, with days remaining in the month, the number of Health Center visits is sure to exceed that of last October.

These numbers only reflect visits to the registered nurses at the Health Center. There are additional Health Center visits to the other members of the staff, such as the nurse practitioner, physician assistant, gynocologist assistant or physician. According to Harrison, “student visits are up in all [of those] areas.”

As many Health Center visits around this time of year deal with common illnesses such as the flu or a cold, these numbers have the potential to be reduced by implementing extra health precautions, Harrison said.

The Health Center is also hosting its annual flu shot clinics. The Health Center held a flu shot clinic on Tuesday in Paresky and will hold another clinic today in Paresky from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The flu shots are free to students.

The Health Center is spearheading several new projects, including education and training regarding sexual assault. The Health Center is designing this campaign in cooperation with the Rape and Sexual Assault Network (RASAN). Together, these organizations form what is called the Sexual Misconduct Task Force, a new force for communication and action surrounding sexual assault.

The Health Center is also coordinating with the sports medicine department to develop an effective program that will allow both parties to better  manage concussions, an especially prevalent danger in athletics.