SRU’s Health Center has already seen a large number of cases of the flu, affecting numerous students on campus.
According to Vanessa Vought, health educator for SRU Health Services from Jan. 19 to Feb. 5 (first two weeks of spring semester) the health center had diagnosed 18 cases of influenza. This is more than the total of the fall semester, with the Health Center diagnosing 14 cases from Sept. 1 to Dec. 15.
“It’s pretty gnarly,” Vought said. “This flu is widespread throughout the entire country so prevention is going to be very important.”
Vought said this particular strain of flu is tricky in terms of treatment and prevention, as the vaccination isn’t as effective as it had been in previous years. Vought said the best prevention is watching out for yourself and avoiding the flu.
“As far as best prevention, it’s making sure that you are looking out for your immune system,” Vought said. “[Students should try] Eating well, sleeping well and managing their stress.”
Vought said that cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth and carrying hand gel are good ways to prevent catching the flu.
“The flu is spread through water droplets, so sick people who are sneezing and coughing, that’s how it’s transmitted to your body,” Vought said. “As much as you can protect yourself from touching something and touching your face or around your mouth; try to avoid that as much as possible.”
If one does get the flu, Vought said the best way to deal with it is to isolate yourself, so one doesn’t risk getting other people sick. Students who do get sick can visit the Health Center and receive a visit verification form to show that they were there.
“If you have any trouble getting out of class contact us and we will help you,” Vought said. “It’s very important to not go to class if you’re sick because you’ll get the entire class sick, and that’s not gonna be good for the professor either.”
Vought said the flu can last up to 2-3 weeks, but someone with the flu should say at home and wait to not have a fever for 24 hours before leaving.
The Health Center also contains a cold care center next to the waiting area, where students get come in (without an appointment) and get cough drops, pain reliever medication and Sudafed.
“If you just need something on hand you can pop in and get it whenever you want,” Vought said. “No need to sign in, no need to make an appointment, it’s absolutely free.”
Regardless of how severe this strain of flu is, Vought said it’s still important to get the flu shot.
“We provide the flu shots 24/7,” Vought said. “Whenever you need to come in, early in the morning or late at night; there’s not excuse.”
– Article was updated on 2/14/18 to reflect that the Health Center gives out form to verify visit, not excuses for class.