UT tries to cut down spread of flu

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- As two strains of flu spread this year, the University of Tennessee is trying to cut down on the number of cases on campus, by offering flu shots.

The close quarters of campus, can be the perfect breeding grounds for viruses.

Rachel Stevenson is one of many UT students that took a break from classes Wednesday, in hopes of avoiding the flu.

She says, "Everyone is getting sick, and I really don't want to get sick. Senior year, there's a lot of stuff to do, a lot of classes to keep up with, so yeah try to prevent any sickness."

So Rachel got her seasonal flu shot.

Dr. Charlie Barnett is volunteering his time to help with the flu shots, and he says, "These kids live in dorms, fraternity houses, apartment, 4 kids to an apartment or whatever, and if one gets it, they're all gonna get it, so it will really spread through the community here, the university community, like wildfire."

Dr. Barnett hopes the shots will help to keeping the spread of the virus down.

He says, "The flu is mostly an aggravation, a painful type illness but it can kill you."

And with a line wrapping around the hallway, Dr. Barnett says the turnout was better this year than years past.

UT Professor, John Zomchick, says, "I'm doing my part so that I don't get sick, and I don't get other people sick."

As a professor in English at UT, Zomchick comes in contact with hundreds of students everyday.

He says, "I also have a family at home, and I don't want to expose them to anything that I may come in contact with here."

So a few minutes out of his day, and $2 for the shot, John is simply trying to keep from exposing the youngest member of his family to the flu. "I have a 6 month old actually, at home, and the last thing I want to do is make him sick."

But this vaccine is for one of the strains of flu that has already hit the UT campus.

Rachel says she will get the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it's available. "I'm sure my mom won't let me forget it, she actually called me when I was in line and said you need to go get your flu shot and I said, Mom, taken care of."

The money from the flu shots Wednesday went to the Knoxville News Sentinel's empty stocking fund, which provides food and toys to children in East Tennessee during the holidays.

Another fundraiser for the charity is coming up: Free Flu-Shot Saturday will be September 26Th, from 8 a.m. until Noon.

At 6 locations around Knoxville: Austin-East High, Farragut High, Halls High, West High, South-Doyle Middle and Carter High schools.

The event will be for anyone 4 or older and will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information log onto KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL.

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