Between five and 20 percent of the U.S. population will get the flu this year. If a student at Cal Poly falls into that category, their first stop will likely be the campus
However, students reported up to three-hour wait times when walking in to see a doctor this year, which can be a nearly impossible wait with intense academic schedules. Appointments can also be hard to make; students report scheduling them at least three days in advance. Even then, many students find it easier to head off campus to urgent
Architectural engineering freshman Karlie Kitzman had a long first experience at the Health Center.
“I walked in with [a] very bad cold and pink-eye,” Kitzman said. “I had a class but it took three hours for me to be seen. My friend had to bring me food because I couldn’t leave to keep my place in line.”
Health Center Medical Director Dr. Aaron Baker said the extensive wait at peak times is primarily due to the sheer quantity of students needing to be seen and the center’s lack of resources.
“When you go to High Street Deli for lunch the line is out the door,” Baker said. “It is a similar situation here.”
Mechanical engineering senior Megan Hardisty discovered a trick for reducing the time she had to wait.
“I realized if I get there right at 8 a.m., I could get in and out much easier,” Hardisty said. “It’s definitely worth skipping class for.”
Baker agrees that heading to the Health Center at non-peak times is much better than at the height of the day.
Journalism freshman Riley Pridmore discovered this as well when trying to get a prescription for an inhaler.
“I went down two days in a row and the wait was too long,” Pridmore said. “On the third day, I got there early and saw a nurse first. The nurse gave me a slip for a certain time to see a doctor that day.”
Baker and his team are constantly working to increase the number of providers within their budget. With the end goal being to help as many students as possible, the Health Center is looking to increase services to better serve the student body.
“Currently, we are exploring options to open appointments for the next day and even sooner as they become available,” Baker said.
To avoid having to make extra visits, the Health Center says the best way students can stay healthy during flu season is to get a flu vaccine. The Health Center offers the quadrivalent vaccine every day except Wednesday for $16.50.