The weather has been all over the place lately, and it has been affecting students and faculty.
From colds to strep to flu, many people at The W have experienced the battle between immune system and infection. While it has not reached epidemic levels, it is still important to remember how to prevent catching something and what to do once something has been caught.
The first step is knowing symptoms. The common cold and flu are caused by different viruses but both involve runny noses, sore throats, and coughing or sneezing. The flu takes it a step further to include a fever, and while the cold generally poses no major health risks, the flu can be fatal if left untreated.
So how does one avoid getting sick?
“I recommend that everyone receives their influenza vaccine,” said Dr. Teresa Hamill, a nurse practitioner at The W’s health center.
The health center is located in the Eckford Hall. Students are able to get their influenza vaccine from the campus health center for $25.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing your hands often with soap and water. Students should also be careful to avoid putting their hands near their faces and especially avoid placing their hands in their mouths.
However, viruses are not 100 percent preventable. If a student, faculty member or staff member gets sick, they are able to visit the health center for free. Their spouses or dependents can also go by the health center for a $15 fee. Once there, a test for strep throat is $14 and a test for flu costs $30.
After that, it’s a matter of treating the illness without falling too far behind in school or work and without infecting everyone around you. For this task, W students stepped in to offer their advice.
“Be sure to drink lots of fluids and consult with your doctor,” said Brenna Little, a major in Pre-Nursing.
“Take meds and hope for the best, but expect the worst,” said Lori Purtle, a Culinary Arts major.
“FaceTime the teacher and watch the class from home,” said Amartize Bow, a Nursing major.
Perhaps the most well-known solution to being sick — but still having to deal with life — is returning after a full 24 hours without a fever. With strep throat, 24 hours is the approximate length of time to become non-contagious. With the flu, wait five to seven days or until symptoms are no longer present.
For more information on these and other illnesses, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov. A more detailed list of services offered by the campus health center, as well as a list of other local walk-in clinics, can be found at www.muw.edu/centers/healthcenter.