Between classes, work and other activities, Mavericks have a lot to balance. As a result, thinking about which vaccines and exams you need to stay healthy is probably not on your mind.
Keeping your vaccine records up to date and visiting the doctor for regular testing and evaluation is critically important, even at a young age. This is because exams and vaccines can prevent dangerous diseases and catch chronic conditions early to keep them from derailing your academic and career aspirations.
Ready to make your health a priority? Start with these exams and vaccinations recommended by Nebraska Medicine UNO Health Center staff.
Recommended Exams and Testing
1. Annual physical and wellness profile
During this office visit, your health care provider will inspect, feel or listen to different parts of your body to check for issues that may become a problem in the future. It’s also a chance to report any symptoms or problems you’ve experienced in the past year, review your medications and ask questions. Your provider may order a wellness profile, which is a blood draw that screens for common health conditions, like diabetes and heart disease.
2. Regular sexually transmitted infection testing
If you are sexually active, get tested for STIs regularly. The frequency depends on risk, so talk to your health care provider to learn more. The tests are easy and usually only require a quick blood, urine or secretion sample. Remember to be honest with your provider about your sex life. They won’t judge you, and they need the full picture to order the right tests for your needs. Learn more about STI testing.
3. Annual exams
No matter their gender, everyone needs an annual exam of their reproductive parts.
If you have a uterus and ovaries, you will need a pelvic exam. This is where the provider performs a brief, gentle external and internal evaluation to make sure your organs are healthy.
If you have a penis and testes, your provider should check your testicles annually. They can show you how to perform a self-exam once a month so you can catch if any unusual lumps or bumps appear. Although testicular cancer is not common, the average age of diagnosis is about 33. Start getting checked at a young age for your peace of mind.
4. Pap test
If you have a cervix, you should start getting Pap tests at age 21 to screen for cervical cancer. Unless otherwise determined by your provider, you will need a Pap test every year for the first three years and then once every one to three years based on your exam results.
COVID-19 vaccines are not available at the UNO Health Center but can be obtained through your county of residence (Douglas, Sarpy/Cass, Saunders, Washington), state health department (Nebraska and Iowa), and the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. The CDC has not yet announced if people will need to repeat vaccinations in the future.
This vaccine is needed annually and is usually provided at no cost to students through the UNO Health Center during the fall and spring semesters. More information about 2021 flu vaccines will be available in September or October.
7. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is a series of three shots given over six months. You can receive these immunizations anytime from age 9 to 45 – the earlier the better. These vaccines prevent infections that can cause cervical and other types of cancer and oral/genital warts.
8. Check for missing immunizations from childhood
Review your immunization records with your health care provider annually. If you missed any shots while you were growing up, your provider may recommend you get those now. For example, most students are vaccinated for measles (MMR) during childhood. These vaccines are required by UNO for enrollment. If you haven’t received your MMR vaccines, now is a great time to do so. Several other vaccines are recommended as you age, including meningitis, Tdap, pneumonia, etc.
All of the immunizations and exams listed above (except for COVID-19 vaccines) are available at the UNO Health Center. To schedule a visit, call 402.554.2374. Some of these services may be covered partially or fully by your private insurance plan because they are preventive care services; call your insurance company to verify coverage.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.