The flu blows; take steps to prevent it

Edward Leonard

The sick season has begun. You may be seeing the effects among your friends: sniffling, lethargy and generally zombie-like behavior. In addition to the general stress and day-to-day worries that can cause all of these things, people are starting to get sick.

I’ve been wandering about campus, seeing bright red noses, darkened eyes and dragging feet. It looks like a really depressing clown convention. Even some of my close friends are beginning to exhibit symptoms of various maladies and are having “those days” more and more often. It’s an uphill battle to keep myself healthy.

Last year during the beginning of second semester I got strep throat. It was miserable; I was in constant pain, with shivers and a fever, barely able to stay awake and sweating all the time. I was constantly hungry but it hurt too much to eat anything. Class was out of the question, and while I normally am not opposed to the occasional skip, this took all the fun out of it.

Eventually I got on antibiotics after a visit to the remarkably convenient Thielen Health Center, I eventually got better, recovered and was immediately hit with the realization that my inability to do anything for the last week had included an inability to do homework, all of which was now due. It wasn’t pretty.

While not everyone gets strep throat, my experience isn’t unique. Every year between 5 and 20 percent of Americans get the flu, and last year was one of the worst years on record, according to the CDC. H1N1 was, in fact, declared the first “global pandemic” in more than 40 years. No wonder everyone was in a complete panic. I was personally certain it was the end of humanity, as we know it. It’s a real relief we made it through as a species. That was a close one.

But now it’s time to start panicking again. The flu is making it’s annual comeback, and like I said, we’re all starting to see it rear it’s ugly head.

But it’s pretty easy to prevent. There are flyers across campus and instructions in most bathrooms, but in case you have somehow missed them, here’s some helpful info.

We have a pretty great resource available to us here. Remember the Thielen Health Center I mentioned before? Turns out they’re holding flu clinics so people get vaccinated as soon as possible. You can go to their site for all of the times and places. You can go as early as next week. It costs $20 but you can charge it to your U-bill if you need to.

But if you’re too cheap to invest a few dollars into your own health, fear not, or at least fear a little less, as there are still options. Lets face it, college students aren’t known for our outstanding personal hygiene. With all of our classes and homework and fancy clubs and organizations on campus sometimes our habits can get pretty gross.

However, if we take a little time to proactively counteract this, our chances of spending winter healthy and relatively happy are much better. Wash your hands, of course, and use the hand sanitizer that’s seemingly randomly strewn across campus. It’s helpful, I promise.

And not to sound overly parental, I hope I don’t have to tell you to shower every day. It’s good to get clean. Besides, you’ll stink a lot less. Your friends will thank you, or at lest appreciate it.

Plus don’t let things grow on those dishes in the sink. Not only is it super gross, like sardines, but those “biology experiments” can hold some pretty nasty stuff. Just wash them.

Oh and one more thing, if you do get sick, don’t push yourself to keep going. Take time off. Get better. It’ll make things a lot faster.

And it’s a good excuse to skip class.