Student Health Center and Wellness Initiatives gives tips for avoiding the flu

This time of year when assignments are stacking up and students are losing steam, the last thing they need is to catch the flu. 

The Student Health Center and Wellness Initiatives share tips and guidelines for students this flu season. Dr. Keith Anderson of the Health and Wellness Center said washing hands is the best way to prevent spreading the flu virus.

“You can be healthy but have poor hygiene and still catch the flu,”
Anderson said.

Anderson said some people believe since they are healthy they are safe from the flu virus, but he claims this is false. 

Anderson said what people fail to realize is that flu season starts in September but lasts up to the end of March. Anderson said the Health center on campus sees a rapid growth in flu cases when students return from holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring break.

If, for whatever reason, students are unable to go to the clinic on campus, there are several other walk-in clinics in town including the Ruth Brooks Free Clinic. The Ruth Brooks Free Clinic operates for people who do not have health insurances.

Nurse practitioner Ruth Patterson said students often underestimate the flu and think they are still well enough to go to class. Patterson said in order to help prevent the flu, if infected, is to stay away from people to stop the spreading of germs.

“College students are the most vulnerable to get the flu,” Patterson said. “They do everything together such as eating together and riding in the same vehicle.”

Patterson said even if students opt out of a flu shot, there is always a high concern of who they come in contact with. Patterson agreed with Anderson that washing hands is the best way to stop the spreading of viruses.  

“You might ache at the sight of an injection, but you will ache even worse if you did not get the shot,” Patterson said.

Hill City Pharmacist Nikki Kaur said the flu is a viral infection with many strands and is spread by contact. Kaur said each year researchers attempt to pin point which strand will be most present that upcoming year and they make the vaccine.

What people fail to realize about this virus is that it can be life threatening. According to Kaur, 80,000 people died of the flu in 2017.

To avoid this “debilitating” virus Patterson urges students to make the right decision and get the vaccine to prevent anyone else from getting infected.

“You can get it, and you can give it,” Patterson said.

The Flu Clinic will be providing flu shots for free on Nov. 14 and Dec. 4 from 12-3 p.m. at Montview. 

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