Sarah Dudley, freshman
You are lying in bed one night, ready to relax and go to sleep. That’s when you hear it. It comes from across your room, a mere six feet away. Your roommate coughs. By the morning, it has evolved into a fever, a cough, a sore throat, sneezing, fatigue, and muscle and headaches. You know exactly what it is: the flu.
The flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness that infects the lungs, throat, and nose. As the influenza virus invades your body, it causes the various symptoms that many people are all too familiar with.
Last year, there were nearly 18,000 flu-related hospitalizations in the US during the flu season, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). From October is the most common time to catch a case of seasonal influenza.
The number one way to prevent the seasonal flu is by getting vaccinated. The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months to receive the flu vaccine yearly. Luckily for us, Duquesne University Center for Pharmacy Care and Student Health Services are holding flu clinics for vaccinations this year! They will be on October 1st, November 5th, and December 3rd from 10am-2pm each day, on the 2nd floor of the Student Union. The cost of the vaccine is $30 and can be pre-paid by a parent or guardian at the Center for Pharmacy Care, or by cash, check, or credit card at the time of the vaccine.
In the short term, what can you do to try to limit the spread of the flu, other than getting vaccinated? Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water often. If you do not have access to a sink, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill the flu virus.
In your room, be sure to thoroughly disinfect commonly touched items, such as desks, tables, and doorknobs. Also, make sure to wash silverware and dishes with soap and hot water, or a dishwasher, after each use.
Remember that the virus is highly contagious, and is able to infect others from a day before showing symptoms, until five to seven days after becoming sick. So, if you begin to feel the symptoms of the seasonal flu, for the health of yourself and all other around you, stay home and follow the precautions to minimize other’s exposure.