RWU cautions students as flu virus spreads

Kaylee Pugliese, Photo Manager

This year’s flu season has been the most widespread in a long time, and the number of people contracting it has increased. Despite having been around for years, the current strain of flu, H3N2, has the ability to change rapidly, making it more likely to spread and immunize to flu vaccines.

Flu symptoms vary from person to person and may include cough, high fever, headaches, fatigue, and/or others. These symptoms can last from two days to two weeks. Officials in public health suggest that the epidemic may be affecting people for a couple more months.

Many people do not completely understand how exactly the flu functions or spreads. The virus is usually inhaled through the nose or mouth, and then it attacks the healthy cells to make copies of itself. The flu then creates a home base in the mucus in the throat and bronchial tubes, which could lead to pneumonia.

Particularly on college campuses, there are many people who could host these germs—even if they do not appear to be infected with the virus. Because of this, it is especially important to keep up with regular hand washing. Another tip is to keep water bottles and toothbrushes separated within enclosed living areas. Hydration is an essential defense against illness, as the water helps to diminish headaches and strengthen your immune system.

According to RWU Health Services, there were approximately 25 students who reported flu symptoms. “The news reports state we are in the peak of influenza season, however we continue to see increasing numbers of cases,” confirmed Anne Mitchell, Director of Health Services.

After asking some Roger Williams University undergraduate students, it seems that many have not gotten a flu shot.

“I have never gotten one before and I heard it hurts,” said junior Haley Clancy as she shared her reasoning behind not getting a flu shot.

Junior Andrew Wessel said, “I used to get the flu shot but I still always got sick so I stopped getting them.”

Senior Elias Cristo was one of the students who did, in fact, get vaccinated. “I did get a flu shot right before I came to school,” said Cristo. When asked what influenced this decision, he added, “I decided to get [the flu shot] right after I heard about the 21-year-old bodybuilder that passed away after he contracted the flu. If it could happen to him, [then] it definitely could happen to me. It was really scary and sad, and my heart goes out to his family.”

According to the information sent out in an email from Health Services to RWU students on Jan. 19, students were advised to stay home in bed if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms. It has been determined that a medical examination is not needed unless individuals are experiencing warning signals, such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, or confusion.

While resting at home, it is recommended that students have a designated “flu buddy,” which is essentially someone who can help care for you and bring food to you from the dining hall. Upper Commons will be making accommodations in these situations.

With how easily this virus can spread, it is necessary to take precautions to prevent contracting this illness and keep it from spreading. To be rid of the symptoms, be sure to drink plenty of fluids, take fever-reducing medication, and get plenty of sleep to ensure your rehabilitation.