By Michaella Lesieur, Staff Writer
Winter has arrived in New England. Between the below zero temps and the first blizzard of 2018, the flu season has begun earlier than ever.
The flu, an airborne illness, has gone widespread throughout the United States, including Massachusetts.
However, this season’s flu contains a strain that the flu shot may not be able protect one hundred percent. Still, by getting the shot you are protecting yourself from the illness or not having the symptoms as severe.
All students, faculty and staff should take into accounts the symptoms and preventions of staying healthy this school year. A school wide email for Health Services was sent out to students prior to the start of the Spring semester, providing us with all the information one would need in order to take action if flu symptoms were to occur.
According to UMass Dartmouth’s flu like symptoms/ diagnosis our statistics for the 2017/2018 school year have been relatively low.
“From December 1 through December 31, 2017, seven people were diagnosed or had symptom’s that were “influenza like.” From January 1 to January 23 of this year, two people have been diagnosed or suffered flu like symptoms.”
“Flu symptoms come on quickly and include fever (above one hundred degrees), headache, severe muscle aches as well as general weakness and extreme fatigue. There are some medicines (antivirals) that can help decrease the severity of the flu and are most effective if started within forty-eight hours of onset of symptoms,” according to the email.
Students who develop any of these symptoms are encouraged to contact Health Services or their physician. You can contact UMass Dartmouth’s Health Services, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The flu goes through cycles and the peak months lead from December to February.
“It had an early peak season [this season]; although, it looks to be going down, I am concerned about the flu seeing that everyone is coming back from break from all over” said Director of UMass Dartmouth’s Student Health Services Sheila Dorgan.
UMass Dartmouth has been helping students, staff and faculty by taking the right precautions in keeping everyone healthy. “There have been six flu clinics held on campus with a total of three hundred twenty-five people immunized, which was open to students and staff,” said Dorgan proudly.
When receiving the flu shot it can take up to about two weeks to be in full affect. Dorgan stresses that it is not too late for any student or staff to receive a flu shot and they are available in the Health Services Building, next to Pine Dale. All you have to do is call a head and book an appointment.
If unable to make it to Health Services, Walgreens has a flu clinic. Also, Target is giving a gift card to all that receive a flu shot from their clinic.
Not only does the flu shot protect you but the people around you; those who suffer from rare and chronic illnesses, especially have an easier chance of getting a stronger hit. It is encouraged that those who have a loved one with an illness, receive the shot to protect both parties.
Some tips for staying healthy on campus:
Wash your hands frequently
Use a tissue when you sneeze and make sure you throw it away.
Cover your mouth when you cough.
Carry around hand sanitizer to use before eating.
Refrain from touching your eyes and mouth.
Keep a well sustained workout and eating routine.
Don’t stay up too late, make sure you are keeping your immune system up and getting enough rest in between.
Stay home if you are sick.
Tips for dorm students:
Disinfect all surfaces within your dorm.
Spray down sheets with Lysol spray and bathrooms.
Wipe down cell phones, TV remotes and computer keys with disinfectant wipes.
Keep a wide distance as often as possible if your roommates are sick (6ft. distance).
One fact: * “Flu germs can last on surfaces for forty-eight or more hours,” according to Dorgan.
No over the counter medication will cure the flu said Dorgan while discussing a treatment plan.
“To keep your immune function up get enough rest, sleep deprivation in college does not help students stay healthy, maintain a healthy diet packed with nutrients and minerals and keep up a good exercise routine,” said Dorgan.
Students and faculty who have the flu are encouraged to stay home, seeing that they are contagious even prior to the onset. “You are contagious one day before the symptoms and five to seven days after” according to Dorgan.