The 2018 flu epidemic: staying healthy this season


Colin McCann

The College of Health is located inside J. Brooks Brown Hall.

Sam Chaney

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The United States experiences epidemics of seasonal flu each year,” and the 2017-2018 season is no different.

The University recently warned students that flu strains A and B have already been reported on campus, making it increasingly important to take preventative measures. So if you’re looking to be a flu fighter this season, here are some ways to stay healthy:

Vaccinate, Vaccinate, Vaccinate

The CDC has reported that flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses, and is one of the most effective ways to prevent falling sick.

If you can’t get to your doctor anytime soon, there will be two flu vaccine distribution days on campus. The first was from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Jan 17., located in Student Health Services, J. Brooks Brown Hall Addition, Bldg. 39A, Room 2098. The second is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan 18., located on the second floor of Osprey Fountains.

These vaccines only cost $5 and no appointment is necessary.

Hand Washing

Remember when you were a kid and your teachers would try to teach you to sing “Happy Birthday” twice through while washing your hands? Well, it’s time for a throwback for the sake of health.

As a matter of fact, research conducted by the International Association for Food Protection has shown that sudsing up with some warm water for a minimum of 20 seconds reduces germs more effectively than just washing for a short period of time.

However, if you don’t have any soap nearby, you can fall back on using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

A Delicate Touch

Keeping your hands to yourself around somebody who is sick is a simple way to prevent the spread of bacteria. However, if you really need to shake somebody’s hand when you introduce yourself, remember to wash your hands after.

When you sneeze or cough, try to cover your mouth using the crook of your elbow instead of your hands, and always blow your nose into a tissue. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, as these are areas that are easily susceptible to the spread of germs.

Disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched may also help to keep your surroundings clean and your body flu-free.

Healthy Living

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your immune system is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Getting adequate sleep and exercising often can help to keep your body’s first lines of defense against illness strong.

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, a deficiency of certain vitamins and micronutrients has been shown to weaken the immune system. To work around this, taking additional vitamin supplements may be a good idea if your diet has some nutritional gaps.

If You Get Sick…

Sometimes the stars align in a way that makes getting sick inevitable. If you find yourself coming down with the flu, the CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.

Make sure you also don’t mistake your common cold for the flu. The hallmark symptoms of the flu are fever, body aches, and sometimes vomiting. The common cold may have similar symptoms, such as a stuffy nose or coughing, but symptoms will generally be milder than that of the flu.

To try to stay on top of the most current flu statistics, check out the CDC’s Weekly U.S. Flu Surveillance page here.

For any further questions regarding the vaccine or staying healthy this season, students are encouraged to call Student Health Services at (904) 620-2900.


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