By Christina DiMauro
Flu season is upon us at Sacred Heart University.
When the spring semester began a couple of weeks ago, students received an email from The Wellness Center that the flu had already been reported on campus.
In the email, students were informed that a student on campus was diagnosed with the flu, and they were also advised to make an appointment to get a flu shot.
“Since our return after Martin Luther King Day, Health Services had our first positive Flu test that week of Flu B,” said Anne Mavor, director of Health Services. “Now this week we have had 3 more confirmed cases of Flu B and our first Flu A.”
Generally, people are urged to get their flu shots in the fall to protect and prevent them from getting sick.
“The best protection against the flu is vaccination,” said Mavor. However, there has been a positive case of a student who was previously vaccinated.
This year in particular, the flu seems to be more severe due to the many strains of the flu.
“There are trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines that have 3-4 strains of the flu. Usually the 2 A’s (H1N1 and H3N2) and 1-2 B flu strains,” said Mavor. “Health Services is offering the quad vaccine this year.”
If a student believes he or she has the flu, there are some ways to identify what the flu looks and feels like.
Students will most likely be able to recognize the sickness by a few typical symptoms; fever, hot and cold flashes, headache, sore throat, or a cough.
Other symptoms include body aches, nasal congestion, and nausea.
There are many steps students can take to prevent the flu from spreading.
“As a student nurse, we always learn that one of the primary ways to stay healthy especially during flu season is by washing your hands,” said senior, Brianne Melillo.
If a roommate or housemate falls ill, it is important to protect yourself from getting sick as well.
Students can use cleaning products on surfaces or objects that may be contaminated with those germs.
“If my housemate get sick, the rest of make sure to continually clean the door handles and tables in our house, so that we aren’t exposed to the germs,” said senior, Alyxandra Bailey.
Germs spread easily, and living in tight spaces with those who are infected, can increase exposure to the flu.
“Some of the simplest preventions are always forgotten or overlooked,” said Melillo.
Sometimes, symptoms don’t become noticeable for a few days.
“If you have been exposed to the flu, the flu virus can incubate up to 3-to-7 days before you develop symptoms,” said Mavor.
If students are diagnosed with the flu, there are a few things they can do.
“We encourage students to limit close contact with others. Most of those diagnosed with the flu are encouraged to go home-if possible,” said Mavor.
People usually recover best from the flu with lots of rest, fever medications, and other over-the-counter cold and cough medications.
“We recommend that you are fever free for 24 hours, and off fever medications before returning to class and activities,” said Mavor.
If you think you are sick, or would still like to get your flu shot this season, students are encouraged to call Health Services at 203-371-7838.