Flu season approaches at UCCS

2 October 2018

Eric Friedberg

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    As flu season approaches, the UCCS Wellness Center is preparing campus to prevent an outbreak.

    As of Sept. 21 the UCCS Wellness Center has not diagnosed anyone on campus with the flu. Flu season is most commonly seen between the months of September and December.

Influenza Vaccines lay ready for administration. Photo by Oliver Adon – The Scribe

    The flu is an infectious virus that can spread to others within five to seven days, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Small actions like coughing, sneezing or talking with others can spread germs.

    The virus thrives in low humidity climates, according to a study conducted by Peter Palese, professor and chair of the Microbiology department at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

    According to medlineplus.gov, symptoms like chills, soreness, runny nose, fatigue, vomiting and a fever of 100 degrees or higher are all indicators needed before making a self-diagnoses.

    Medical Director for the UCCS Wellness Center Vicki Schober’s best advice to reduce the chance of catching the flu is for students living in college style dormitories to manage stress, stay active, stay hydrated and get vaccinated.

      Flu vaccinations are available on campus at the UCCS Wellness Center, and were offered at the annual Health and Wellness Fair on Sept. 25 as previously reported.

    “The most common form of flu virus is Influenza A, [this virus] infects humans and specific animal such as pigs birds, and horses,” said senior instructor Wendy Haggren.

    While the flu strikes every year around the same time it is not possible to predict what a particular flu season will look like, according to Haggren.

    “Your immune system recognizes and produces protection against many tiny regions on this virus, and medical doctors contend that any protection your body has will ameliorate the flu symptoms, possibly saving you from a hospital visit,” said Haggren.

    After getting vaccinated, your chances of getting an immune response of a low-grade headache or mild flu like symptoms can happen – but this is not the flu.

      Schober is well versed in misconceptions surrounding how the flu operates.

    “Some people are concerned that they could get the flu from the flu vaccine, but a flu shot cannot cause you to get the flu,” said Schober. She said that chances of catching the flu are reduced by hand washing and avoiding hand contact with your face and mouth.

     Contact with the virus can happen anywhere according to Haggren.

     “The virus is somewhat stable on hard surfaces, so touching a stair-rail can result in transfer of virus to your hands,” said Haggren.

    Haggren cautions people to wait until the flu season is underway before believing stories found on the internet.

    Both Haggren and Schober encourage people who are curious about staying healthy during the flu season to visit the CDC website for tips.