As the flu season is on high alert, the health center gives tips to FC students on how to protect themselves from the flu virus.
Most people know this to be the common symptoms of the flu and it spreads rapidly during the fall and winter months. According to the Centers for Disease and Control, last winter alone 80,000 people died in the United States from flu virus complications.
With finals around the corner some may begin to notice more people coughing, sneezing, and complaining of other influenza like symptoms. What can students do to take the best possible precautions to finish out this semester on a healthy note?
“Students should make sure to wash their hands, get the flu shot and take proper precautions when sick. If someone is sick, we encourage them to stay home to avoid spreading the sickness to classmates, but of course, communicate their needs with their professors. One thing to keep in mind is the symptoms of flu can be different then a cold,” said Kelly Salazar FC Health Education Coordinator.
The flu is a highly contagious virus that comes in three different strains, type A, B and C. Every strain of the virus has different level of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. This respiratory infection enters the body through the mucus membranes such as the eyes or mouth, so keeping your hands consistently clean and free of germs is preventive. It is recommended by most health care professionals that people take the influenza vaccine early in the season to protect themselves from getting sick.
“Getting the flu vaccine can reduce your risk of getting the flu and if you do get the flu, it can reduce risk of major symptoms. Getting the flu shot also helps protect others that cannot get the flu shot or are more vulnerable to the flu (such as elderly, babies, children, people with compromised immune systems),” added Salazar.
Every year the health center offers flu shot vaccinations free to students, and 20 dollars for the staff until supplies last. Fortunately, plenty of people received their vaccinations early in the fall semester so the health center successfully used up all their supplies. It will be available again next year.
“If students do get the flu, we recommend that they stay home and avoid contact with others. If someone has the flu and has trouble breathing, pain or pressure in chest, sudden dizziness or other severe or life-threatening symptoms we encourage them to seek medical help. If not, stay home,” Salazar adds, “The CDC recommends someone with the flu to stay home for at least 24 hours AFTER their fever is gone. Before this time, the person is contagious.”
For more information on the flu or where to go for vaccinations, please contact the FC health services.