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Campus flu cases this year about average

by Erikah Haavie, Contributing Writer

Suzanne Burton brought a “to-do” list back from winter break.

One of the items on the list? Getting a flu shot again this year.

“It’s a concern because you’re always around so many people,” said Burton, a junior English major from Lexington, Ky. “It’s definitely something I hope to do.”

Furman is seeing what Director of Student Health Services Mary Haselden described as a “typical” flu season this year. During the first week of classes in January, clinic staff saw 12 persons with flu-like symptoms, up from four during the last week of classes in December.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Symptoms typically include a fever of more than 100 degrees, body aches, chills and a cough.

Widespread flu activity has been reported by 47 states nationwide including South Carolina, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In South Carolina, flu activity also remains widespread this month, though reported illnesses are lower Upstate than in the Midlands and coastal regions.

While this year has been much quieter than flu seasons in 2006 and 2009 at Furman, notices across campus are again reminding students to take precautions.

“We’re trying to be proactive to encourage people to get flu shots,” Haselden said.

So far this season, more than 300 Furman students have received flu shots.  A new shipment came in earlier this month to serve 50 people on a waiting list and make additional vaccines available.

“Your body needs about two weeks to build its best protection after receiving the flu vaccine, so you should get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Dr. Linda Bell, interim state epidemiologist with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

To help prevent the spread of the flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and then throw the tissue away.
  • Stay home if you are sick until you have been symptom-free without taking fever-reducing medicine for 24 hours.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Eat a healthy diet, exercise and get plenty of rest.
  • Get a flu vaccine each year.

Student clinic hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

(Image by Shutterstock)

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