Students, staff discuss flu prevention, treatment

Fall is here, which means sickness season is just around the corner.

Due to inconsistent patterns that have been showing up lately, along with everyone being back together on campus, many individuals are already feeling sick — and it is only a month into classes.

Many students may be wondering what they can do to help prevent getting sick this school year. Some items include practicing good health habits and avoiding unnecessary contact, but what happens if they are one of the unlucky ones who still come down with the dreaded flu?

The Wilkes University Health and Wellness Services aim to help prevent illness. Located in Passan Hall, across from the Marts Gym, they are offering flu shots on a first come first serve basis during regular office hours. These times and days include 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Diane O’Brien, a family nurse practitioner and the director of Health and Wellness Services, laid out how many Wilkes students suffer from the flu’s effects, and the reasons as to why they should get the shots ahead of time.

“Last year, the university had the largest number of cases of the flu. Approximately 44 cases were positive.”

Diane went on to explain how college students are so heavily affected because of the community style living they experience, along with attending classes and playing sports, which all tend to spread the flu more easily.

She also shared signs and symptoms along with treatments.

These signs differ from a common cold, but include high fever, chills, dry cough, body aches, headache and fatigue. Once you are tested and found to have a positive case, antiviral medication will be prescribed along with a safe amount of time at home and away from others to prevent spreading the infection.

According to Diane, “the flu shot protects against viruses that will be the most common for that particular flu season.” 

It helps your body develop antibodies against the flu.

“The flu vaccine, in combination with good hygiene practices, including good hand washing, covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing and limiting exposure to people that are sick, is the best defense against getting the flu,” said O’Brien.

Kayla Broscious, a sophomore pharmacy major here at Wilkes, has some experience herself with receiving the shot.

She works as a Pharmacy Technician in the Pediatric unit of the pharmacy at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. As a part of her job, she is required to get the vaccine yearly, otherwise the requirement is to wear a surgical mask for the whole flu season.

In jobs such as Broscious’, prevention is key to avoid spreading any kind of disease, especially the flu, as well as on a college campus. This flu season, students may consider spending the $20 to get the vaccine after weighing whether they would rather deal with a simple needle or days of severe sickness.