Students battle illness during the flu season

By Alyssa Sperrazza, News Editor

sicknessalenablakley
Alena Blakley, The Bison

Long ago were the days where you actually wanted a sick day from school.

Any college student who misses classes on account of being sick knows the pain doesn’t end when you get better because catching up on assignments is a struggle of its own.

“I missed a test I had and had to write a paper while I was sick,” junior Amy Munger said.

The 2016-2017 influenza season, which the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) Acute Disease Service (ADS) say began October 2, 2016, will continued to be monitored through May of 2017.

The OSDH has been monitoring influenza-associated hospitalizations for ths flu season, reporting that hundreds of people have been hospitalized since Sept. 1, 2016.  OSDH has also reported eight deaths from the flu in Oklahoma.   

Students and faculty can take precautions during flu season by following some advice to help everyone stay healthy.

“Nutrition is the best thing you can do to keep from being susceptible to illness,” Campus Nurse Susan Donnelly said.

“Don’t skip meals or replace nutritious foods with high calorie fast foods, sweets or snacks.”

Healthy eating, plenty of sleep and downtime to relax are not often equated with college students schedules, but they are highly encouraged in order to remain healthy.

“If you are being healthy, your immune system is most likely going to keep you well,” Donnelly said. “Most college students are under a lot of stress which is a detriment to your health.”

Most cough, cold and flu symptoms are passed from person to person, making a college campus the perfect place become susceptible to illnesses.

“Keep your distance around people that appear to be sneezing and coughing because air droplets carry gems to others,” Donnelly said.

“Just like they tell you in grade school, wash your hands thoroughly throughout the day, especially if you are in the same room with someone that is sick.”

When asked what the school can do to help, more sanitation is at the top of the list.

“Maybe the school could get the hand sanitizer things working in the dorms and around campus for students to use as they go by them,” Munger said.

While the sanitizers are often out of stock, small travel-size hand sanitizers, available at stores, are optimal for students and faculty to carry around at all times.

Germs are also passed onto public surfaces, like counters and desks.

The flu virus can live for hours on surfaces like tables, doorknobs and other commonly used surfaces.

“Lysol can be sprayed in the room and all surfaces should be wiped down with Lysol wipes,” Donnelly said.

It is also highly encouraged to get the flu vaccine every year.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) releaed a report estimating that only five percent to twenty percent of Americans get the vaccine yearly.  This fluxuates yearly, depending how bad the influenza is.

While it does not always prevent you from contracting the flu, it can lessen your chances.

If you experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills  or fatigue go get a check up as soon as possible.

Nurse Donnelly’s office is open Monday through Friday from 8a.m. to 5p.m.  For serious illnesses and other major problems, it is recommended to go directly to St. Anthony’s Urgent Care, located at 3208 Medical Park Dr.  Their phone number is 405-878-7160.

For flu vaccines, be sure to check out your local pharmacies.  Flu shots are offered at urgent care centers, pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS and other health care centers.  The vaccine takes up to two weeks to start working effectively.

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