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Flu season is upon us

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As we make our way into the autumn season, this year’s strain of the flu has made its appearance earlier than expected. “We’ve had about five cases (of the flu) in September” said Bridgette Bednarz, Director of Student Health Services and a nurse practitioner, “our first case of the flu last year was on Oct. 5so (the flu) is definitely about a month early.”

Despite the early arrival, Bednarz and her team at the Wellness Center are ready to provide aid to students who have fallen ill due to the flu.

On Oct. 2 and on Oct 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Wellness Center will partner with the Nursing program to provide a flu shot clinic for students. This clinic will allow student to receive a flu shot so that they can prevent catching the flu. There will be a charge of 20 dollars and the clinic will be held in the Nursing Building room 211. While it is recommended to get a flu shot, there is still no guarantee that the chances of catching the flu diminishes.

“I believe our flu shot covers four strains” said Bednarz, “It’s always a guess on what is the next flu. All the flu strains that have been in the past (have been included) into the flu vaccines, but…the flu mutates every year. So you have a new strain. So it’s kind of a guess on what will be the new strain. We’ll have to see how this (flu vaccine) is effective. Some years its more effective than others.

“If students feel like they have the flu, we can test them, we can treat them with Tamiflu. Tamiflu will help shorten the course (of the illness) by about a day, a day and a half” Bednarz does warn that Tamiflu must be taken within the first 48 hours of being infected in order for it to be fully effective. After the 48 hours, the only treatment is to stay at home and ride out the infection. “If you are sick, stay home. If you need a note, come here, be seen, and we’ll give you a note for class.” Bednarz sympathizes that students do not want to risk missing classes and faculty and staff does not want to burden others due to their absence but stresses that those who are ill must stay home.”

While taking a flu shot is a method of preventing the flu, Bednarz also suggest preventing the flu by, “(Getting) adequate sleep, eating right, washing your hands, avoid touching your face when you have a cold, cough into your elbow, take some multivitamins, doing stuff that you should already be doing. Sleep is very important, It’s hard for a college student but one of the most important things you can do is get a good amount of sleep.”

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Flu season is upon us