Students prepare for cold and flu season

By By Natalie Hale

By Natalie Hale

Although the cold and flu season doesn’t officially start until October, coughing, sneezing and sniffling can be heard echoing in the halls of buildings all over campus.

Jason Gillman, the program manager for the Office of Health Promotion at the Madsen Health Center, said there are many ways students can lessen their chances of getting sick, such as washing their hands and not touching their face or eyes.

However, if students do get sick, there are no rapid ways to treat illnesses because antibiotics cannot treat viral infections like colds and the flu.

“The fastest way to get better is by staying home, getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids,” Gillman said. “Antibiotics don’t ease symptoms or kill the infection, so don’t take them unless prescribed.”

The flu and colds are transmitted through droplet transmission, which means one has to come into physical contact with another person who is infected.

Washing hands is a crucial part in preventing the spread of viral illnesses, and in order to make washing hands the most effective, Gillman said students should use warm water with soap for at least 20 seconds and avoid recontamination.

“I work in the theater department, and when one person gets sick, eventually everyone does,” said Kimberly Funk, a senior in stage management. “I try to rest when I can-which doesn’t happen very often-so I just deal with it until I get better.”

Shazia Ahmad, a freshman in biology, suffered from the flu last year.

“Being sick sucks because all you want to do is sleep. I am sick right now, and all I want to do is sleep,” Ahmad said.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu symptoms are often more severe than cold symptoms.

The CDCP also said signs of the flu and colds are difficult to distinguish, and can often only be done by performing special tests carried out within the first few days of the onset of illness. Symptoms of both include a high fever, headaches, tiredness, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, diarrhea and vomiting.

“The most effective way to avoid the flu altogether is to get a flu shot,” Gillman said.

The Madsen Health Center will be offering flu shots to students during the Wellness Fair on Oct. 25 in the Union.