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Healthy tips & tricks for pushing past flu season

by The Stylus
Tue, Nov 19th 2019 09:00 pm
With the dropping temperatures and increasing stress of the end of the semester, students need to take better care of themselves to avoid getting sick.
With the dropping temperatures and increasing stress of the end of the semester, students need to take better care of themselves to avoid getting sick.

As the semester comes to a close, flu season is gearing up. College campuses can be a cess-pool for airborne illnesses, and The College at Brockport is no exception. If you do end up catching a bug, here are a few pointers to nurse yourself back to health. 

The flu has various symptoms, which include fever or feeling feverish and/or chills, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches and headaches, among others. 

If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms, we at The Stylus would urge you to go to Hazen Health Center or your primary care doctor. 

In order to stop the spread of the flu, and in some cases avoid the flu, on campus, it is important to remember to wash your hands and cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Avoiding close contact with other people is a good rule to utilize, whether it be for those with the flu or those without it. It is also important to note that attending class while exhibiting signs of the flu is not in the best interest of anyone, as you could spread the flu to others. 

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends this. According to its website, “if you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)” This will give the person infected time to rest and will stop the spread of the disease as well. 

According to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), “you can pass the flu to others from one day before you have symptoms up to 5-7 days after you get sick. Some people might be able to infect others even longer.” Even if you are not showing symptoms, you can still spread the flu to others. 

In the event you contract the flu, be sure to get plenty of rest and fluids. Over the counter medications, such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen may be taken to increase comfort as well. Doctors may also prescribe you with antiviral drugs, which can reduce how sick you get and how long you are sick. 

Regular exercise, a balanced diet with plenty of water and regular sleep can also lower the risk of contracting the flu, but it is recommended to get the flu vaccine. 

According to the CDC, the best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu shot. The NYSDOH said people should get a flu shot every year. 

“New flu vaccines are produced every year to keep up with flu viruses that change rapidly over time. Antibodies to flu vaccine decline over time too — another reason to get a flu vaccine annually.” 

If you get a flu shot one year, it may not work for the next, as flu strains are constantly changing. 

According to the CDC, “the seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.” 

While this typically protects those who get the vaccine, it is possible to contract a flu strain that was not protected by the vaccine. 

The CDC says this could be due to a variety of reasons. For starters, you could contract the flu shortly after getting the vaccine. Since it takes roughly two weeks for the antibodies that provide protection to develop, coming in contact with the flu before this could result in illness. 

Another reason could be that you have come in contact with a seasonal flu virus not protected under the vaccine, as noted above. 

The final reason is that age and health can play a factor in the effectiveness of the vaccine. According to the CDC, “some people can become infected with a flu virus a flu vaccine is designed to protect against, despite getting vaccinated. Protection provided by flu vaccination can vary widely, based in part on health and age factors of the person getting vaccinated. In general, a flu vaccine works best among healthy younger adults and older children. Some older people and people with certain chronic illnesses may develop less immunity after vaccination. Flu vaccination is not a perfect tool, but it is the best way to protect against flu infection.” 

While it may be the recommended protection, we at The Stylus believe you should look into all of your options and choose the best one for you. 

We at The Stylus urge you to take care of yourself, especially during the homestretch of the semester. Keep the warning signs of the flu in the back of your mind, and see a doctor when you think something is amiss. 

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