This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Questions &Answers

Published: October 14, 2004

Frank Carnevale is director of Student Health Services and coordinator of the Student Wellness Team.

What is the concept of "wellness?"
By "wellness," the team is referring to a state of optimal health. Health, here, is meant in the broad sense of "being whole." There are many dimensions to wellness-physical wellness, emotional wellness, social wellness, spiritual wellness, etc. A person, therefore, can be doing quite well in one aspect of wellness (physical wellness, for example-he or she in great physical shape), and not so well in another aspect of wellness (social wellness, for example-he is having trouble maintaining close friendships).

What is the mission of the Student Wellness Team?
The UB Student Wellness Team provides interdisciplinary, collaborative services that promote the optimal health, wellness and development of all students at the University at Buffalo. Information on our programs and services can be found at

What do you mean when you talk about a "holistic approach" to wellness?
The Student Wellness Team is made up of three units: Health Services, Counseling Services and Wellness Education Services. We've structured the team to be collaborative both in its administrative and daily operations. For example, if someone comes to Health Services with the flu and, in taking the person's medical history, it becomes clear that mental health issues are of concern, (he is experiencing symptoms of depression, for instance) we will link him with the wonderful resources available at Counseling Services. The counselor and medical provider then also may consult with each other, as necessary, in order to optimize that student's care. In addition, Wellness Education Services offers a rich array of complementary approaches to traditional medical care-yoga, meditation, massage and drumming are just some of the workshops and resources that are offered free to students.

Are any of the services provided by the Student Wellness Team available to faculty and staff?
The Student Wellness Team staff is always happy to consult with faculty and staff members who are seeking to assist a student in need. There is a counselor and a medical provider on call 24/7 to provide emergency consultation for this purpose. Staff and faculty members can call 829-3316 for Health Services, 645-2720 for Counseling Services and 645-2837 for Wellness Education Services. In addition, we offer a wide variety of wellness-themed workshops in the Life and Learning Workshop Series ( that faculty/staff are welcome to attend. Our CPR Training Center is happy to work with groups of faculty members who want to become CPR certified or to become instructors themselves ( shtml). Finally, we're happy to partner with individual professors who'd like us to come into one of their classes to offer a lecture or a workshop on a particular wellness topic.

Does the nationwide shortage of flu vaccine mean that Health Services will not be giving flu shots to students, faculty and staff this year?
That's correct. Unfortunately, the nationwide shortage also has affected us here in Western New York. Due to this shortage, we will not be able to offer flu shot clinics this year on campus.

Why is there a shortage of flu vaccine this year?
There are two main suppliers of the flu vaccine this year. One of those two companies had quality-control problems and had to destroy its vaccine. This action effectively cut in half the vaccine pool for the United States. For more details and updates on this issue, please go to our Web site at shtml

Who should receive the flu vaccine this year?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that due to the nationwide shortage, the vaccine should be offered first to individuals in several higher-risk groups, including all children aged 6-23 months, adults 65 and older, persons ages 2-64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions, all women who will be pregnant during influenza season, residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, children 6 months to 18 years of age on chronic aspirin therapy, health-care workers with direct patient care, and out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children younger than 6 months. These individuals or their caregivers should seek out the vaccine from the local health department, their primary medical providers, their grocery stores, their pharmacies, etc.

What is Flu Mist and is it a good alternative to the injectable flu vaccine?
FluMist is a live flu vaccine that is administered by a nasal spray instead of a shot. It is an acceptable alternative to the flu shot for certain groups of individuals. This vaccine should be encouraged for healthy persons who are aged 5-49 years and are not pregnant, including health-care workers (except those who care for severely immuno-compromised patients in special care units) and persons caring for children under the age of 6 months. Unfortunately, this vaccine also is in short supply.

In lieu of a flu shot, what precautions can be taken to try to avoid getting the flu?
This is an excellent question. People should not panic due to the lack of flu vaccine. Instead, there are many common-sense actions that we all can take to minimize our likelihood this season from getting the flu. The best way to prevent influenza is to optimize your health and help to stop the spread of bacteria/viruses:

  • To help boost your immune system, get plenty of rest, exercise and eat properly.

  • Stay home from work or school if you experience flu symptoms. Taking it easy could help you feel better sooner and also will slow the spread of disease to others.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.

  • Put your used tissue in the waste basket.

  • Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing by washing with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner.

  • Clean surfaces you touch frequently, such as door knobs, water faucets, refrigerator handles and telephones.

  • If you are starting to have flu symptoms, call your health-care provider. Certain medications can help shorten the duration of the flu if you start taking them within the first 48 hours of experiencing symptoms.

  • Visit for more information on flu prevention.