Steer Clear, Flu Season is Here
By Anthea Dennis
It’s that time of year again: FLU SEASON! The infectious virus that attacks the respiratory system is floating around. According to the CDC, up to 20 percent of the people in the United States get sick with the flu each year. This highly contagious sickness is most commonly found in children and young adults; however, any age group can be affected.
Symptoms of the flu include, but are not limited to muscle pain, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, and coughing. What may be overlooked as just a common cold may turn out to be more severe.
College students are more at risk due to exposure to all sorts of germs because they are constantly in contact with many different people every day. Most college students ignore getting vaccinated and make up most of the 20 percent infected every year. It is very important to take the proper precautions to prevent catching the flu. Flu vaccines are recommended. In 2008, Joseph Brownstein of ABC News reported that “college students who have been immunized against the flu were 30 percent less likely to contract an influenza illness,” but the percentage would increase if more students complied with vaccination.
“I try to stay just stay indoors,” says Chiamaka Okoroha, a computer science major at Bowie State University. “If I do go out, I carry hand-sanitizer in my bag everywhere I go.” Other students expressed how disgusted they are with the spread of germs and some are even scared to catch the virus. Thousands of U.S. residents die every year due to flu-related illnesses. “You can never be too careful,” says Cameron Knox, a communications major. “I had the flu last year and ‘under the weather’ was an understatement... I believe the vaccine is the most effective way to prevent the sickness.” Knox has plans on getting vaccinated as soon as possible.
There have not been any students diagnosed with the flu. Less than 10 reported cases of students on Bowie State’s campus with flu-like symptoms such as “stomach viruses and upper respiratory infections, but nothing severe enough to send out a campus alert,” said Dr. Wutoh, a physician at the Henry Wise Wellness Center. “They just meet the criteria.” It is important to receive treatment if you show any symptoms of the flu even if you think it may be minor. The Wellness Center provides health care and treatment at the convenience of the students.