With the active lifestyle of a college student and the rigorous Mines’ course load, many students just cannot afford to be sick. The Mines’ Health Center is located across from Elm Hall and next to the IM Fields. They have a staff of four doctors, six nurses, a pharmacist, and dental clinic staff including a dentist, a hygienist, and a dental assistant. The Health Center offers a variety of services free of charge, including treatment of common illnesses and prescription of certain medications.
Along with its normal services, the Health Center offered free flu shots to all Mines students this fall. Over 900 students took advantage of this opportunity and received a free flu shot; this is approximately 15% of the student population. This year, the flu shot given was a trivalent flu shot, which consists of three strains of flu–two A strains and one B strain.
The flu shot has approximately a 60% effectiveness in preventing the flu for those who receive the shot. “Normally when someone gets the flu, they are out for a week,” said Debra Roberge, Mines Health Center Director and also a certified Adult Nurse Practitioner. “Students here cannot afford to be out for a week, so I highly recommend the flu vaccine.”
The Health Center’s main concern is keeping Mines students feeling physically and mentally healthy. On average, the center receives 7,000 visits per year. From July to the end of September this year, they saw 1,318 students by appointment. This rise in number is partially due to more students being on campus, but also the illness that sets in during fall.
“We are exposed to viruses every day. Prevention is important. Getting an adequate amount of sleep, eating healthy and exercising will all boost your immune system and help prevent the spread of viruses,” Roberge explained. The Health Center has seen mainly upper respiratory issues this fall, which can be caused by fall weather, allergies, and the start of school. For winter, the center expects to see more upper respiratory issues due to the drier air.
“The Health Center is available to all students who pay health service fees. Everyone over 4 credits pays for it, so use it,“ Roberge said. “If you are not feeling well, come in. You can call or stop in.” The Health Center is open from 8:00am to 12:00pm, and 1:00 pm to 4:45 pm Monday through Friday. Appointments are strongly recommended, but walk-ins can sometimes be accommodated. There is a nurse on call 24/7 who can be reached at 866-458-4954 to answer any questions or give advice for physical health issues.