There is no doubt about it: flu season is in full throttle. No matter the lengths taken to avoid getting sick, sometimes it is inevitable.
The influenza can sometimes be deadly for those who are high-risk, such as the elderly, pregnant women, children and those with weak immune systems. The flu is extremely common. There are roughly three million cases in the US a year. Influenza attacks the lungs, nose and throat, and some symptoms include, but are not limited to, fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headache and fatigue according to WebMD. Usually, the flu is treated very easily with rest and fluids. In some cases, anti-inflammatory pain relievers can be prescribed. If caught in time, medications like Tamiflu can be given. Annual vaccines can help prevent the flu and avoid flu-like complications. This infection can be spread easily by coming in any sort of contact with those infected.
Nursing student Angelina Nguyen said that “hand-washing thoroughly” is one of the best preventatives, aside from the flu shot. Almost everything touched can be infected with the germs causing the flu. Doorknobs, elevator buttons, vending machines and chairs can be covered in germs, so washing hands with warm water and soap is one of the best preventatives to get the germs off. When washing hands, do not forget to rub hands together for roughly 15 to 20 seconds, or sing the “happy birthday” song twice to get the time right.
When not around a sink, hand sanitizer is the next best thing.
“Use hand sanitizer in between washes and avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose,” Nursing student Kailyn Nelms said. The influenza germs infecting the hands is one thing, but once it comes in contact with the face, it can only go downhill. The goal is to keep those germs as far away from the face as possible. To prevent germs from even coming in contact with hands, a paper towel can be used to open doors and pull out chairs.
If someone in the household is sick with the flu, it is best to keep the germs quarantined. “Disinfect rooms with Lysol and surfaces with Clorox wipes,” Nelms said.
If sick with the flu, it is best to stay at home.
“Get lots of rest, stay hydrated, and try to maintain adequate nutrition,” Nursing student Cale Hatfield said. If going out and being around others is unavoidable, wearing a face mask can help keep the germs from spreading. Be sure to cough and sneeze into an elbow so the germs are not easily transferred to others.
For students who think they may have the flu, it is advised to see a doctor as soon as possible. The Student Health Services “offers affordable prices for college students and health insurance coverage is not required to receive care,” according to the Student Health Services website.