How to Stay Safe During Flu Season

Credit: Williston.

Credit: Williston.

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It happens every year. The temperature drops to its lowest and the sun is scarce, but the winter has something far worst in store: the flu.

Due to the communal living situations at many colleges and boarding schools, and owing to the cold weather that allows for better travel of germs and sickness, diseases like the common cold, the stomach bug, and the flu are spread from December to March, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Influenza, also known as the flu, comes in many forms such as swine, avian, but most importantly, the seasonal flu. In 2019 the virus alone killed 2400 people in the US.

Symptoms of the virus include coughing, congestion, fever, chills, muscle aches, headaches, runny nose, and fatigue.

To help prevent the flu the CDC advises everyone to get the flu shot to reduce the risk of getting the disease, as well as lessening the symptoms and risk of complications related to it.

Along with the shot, the CDC recommends avoiding people who may be sick or show signs of being sick like coughing of congestion, as well as frequent hand washing.

In an email addressed to the entire school, Amber Mish, Director of Health and Wellness Services, gave general info on the disease and how it spreads.

”Influenza viruses are spread from person to person, primarily through sneezing, coughing, and touching contaminated objects,” she said.

Mish also included ways to avoid getting the flu.

“Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water can help decrease the risk,” she said. “Cough hygiene (coughing into your elbow) and not sharing food or drinks can also help decrease the risk.”

Post-Graduate Blake Leveston always carries around a bottle of hand sanitizer. Especially because he forgot to get his flu vaccination this year.

“I’m scared I’m going to get it [the flu],” Blake said. “I am looking to see if I could get a vaccination somewhere else maybe.”

In absence of vaccination, Blake has been using hand sanitizer constantly, as well as avoiding touching door handles, the tongs in the dining hall, and other communally used items.