According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this will be a record-breaking flu season. With 63 children dead so far and approximately 12,000 people hospitalized since October, protecting yourself is important. Flu season, which lasts throughout the fall and winter, can be hard to get through unscathed at college. It is important to limit the spread of germs.
According to Wellesley College’s Health Services, the best ways to avoid the flu are getting your flu shot, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting at least eight hours of sleep per night. Health Services currently offers free flu shots, but the necessary supplies are limited, so students should make an appointment as soon as possible.
Students who think they may have the flu should get tested at Health Services immediately. The main symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, headaches, chills, fatigue and nausea. If you think you may have contracted the flu, it is a good idea to have some antibacterial wipes, a thermometer and Ibuprofen on hand. Health Services suggests getting tested as soon as symptoms appear since the antiviral medication is most effective when started within the first two days of contraction. Students who have flu symptoms can call Health Services at (781)283- 2810 to make an appointment to get tested.
If a student is diagnosed with the flu Health Services will provide them with a free flu kit, including some simple medication, to start them on the journey back to health. However, this is only a starter kit, and students should visit a pharmacy to get more medication. As hard as it may be, self-isolation is key for making sure that the flu does not infect others. This means no going to class, no visiting friends and no riding the Peter! Preventing an outbreak is imperative this flu season.
Students who are diagnosed with the flu at Health Services will receive check-up calls from a doctor every day. Students also need to notify their Resident Assistant (RA) and Area Coordinator (AC) in order to be assigned a “buddy” to bring them food at meal times. The dining hall will provide packaged meals for ill students. In addition, there is a comfort kit that students can have delivered to their school mailbox. This includes a thermometer, pain relievers, decongestant, cough drops, tissues, hand sanitizer,soothing tea, band aids, hydrocortisone cream, cough suppressant and self care instructions. According to Health Services’ website, the best thing students can do while recovering from the flu is rest. Taking time to rest and sleep will help to strengthen the immune system and lead to a quicker recovery.