October 30, 2007

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

VSU Proactive on Various Health Issues

VALDOSTA - Valdosta State University takes a continuous proactive stance on important student health issues, like the annual cold and flu season or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The university’s proactive measures include extensive sanitization, professional treatment of illness and educational opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

Farber Health Services offers educational sessions about diagnosing, treating and preventing various health issues like cold, flu and other infections. Health representatives have distributed informative handouts and Purell hand sanitizer as well as distributed informational flyers to be displayed in residence halls. Farber will also provide flu shots at a cost of $15 to members of the VSU community. Health center representatives will make visits to various departments from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, and establish stations on the front lawn from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, and at the VSU Bookstore from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1.

With recent attention on cases of MRSA in tight-knit communities like athletic teams and schools, as well as the approaching cold and flu season, Farber Health Services has provided tips for preventing illness. Cleanliness - hand-washing and post-workout showers - is the best way to avoid infection. Farber personnel suggest not sharing personal toiletry items, like razors, deodorant or lotion; using antibacterial soap, not bar soap; and using clothing or towels as a barrier between skin and shared gym equipment. It is important to report all symptoms and skin lesions as soon as possible. The earlier the treatment, the more successful it is.

While proper cleansing is always a priority at VSU, additional steps have been implemented in the last several years to address important health issues. Because a high number of MRSA cases reported nationally have involved tight-knit communities like athletic teams, VSU has focused attention on athletic facilities. Four years ago, the Old Gym and PE Complex locker rooms were professionally tested and results showed no signs of Staph infection; however, the university implemented a very proactive program to prevent the spread of MRSA to the campus community. A second professional testing of the locker rooms within the Old Gym, PE Complex and Student Recreation Center is scheduled within the next two weeks.

Since August 2007, VSU has been fogging the weight room and both locker rooms in the old gym with an anti-microbial solution that is certified to kill MRSA on a weekly basis and two years ago, they began soaking showers in the same solution. Custodians clean and disinfect showers/bathrooms in athletic facilities on a daily basis and treat carpets regularly.

VSU also created a committee that consists of representatives from Environmental and Occupational Safety, Physical Plant, Athletics, Auxiliary Facilities and Farber Health Services. The group keeps close contact to disseminate the latest information on MRSA and other health issues. Additional information on MRSA is available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa_ca.html and http://services.valdosta.edu/health/ .

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