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Flu season is in full swing

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According to the CDC, the flu shot protects against three strains of the virus that research predicts will be most prominent. Photo courtesy of photopin.com
According to the CDC, the flu shot protects against three strains of the virus that research predicts will be most prominent. Photo courtesy of photopin.com

As the flu virus sweeps across the United States, Student Health Services at Colorado State University- Pueblo has said they are prepared to handle cases across campus.

Student Health Services said they have treated less than a dozen cases of the flu on campus this semester but their first confirmed case was in August.

“We were anticipating an early season,” Melody Grublak, a healthcare technician at the center said.

Many healthcare professionals, like Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, an infectious disease specialist and director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, claim that this flu season is worse than average, especially for those who are more susceptible to contracting the virus.

According to the CDC, symptoms of the flu include: fever, cough sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches fatigue and in serious cases, mostly among children, vomiting and diarrhea.

The virus is contagious from the day before symptoms develop up until five to seven days after initial symptoms, according to the CDC.

Another common illness at the health center is the stomach flu. It is often confused with the flu, but the two are completely unrelated, yet seem to occur around the same time of year.

The flu is a respiratory virus, and symptoms of the flu usually never include what people describe as the stomach flu.

Many students confuse the two, thinking they have the flu when it is really a stomach virus or misinterpreting flu symptoms for a common cold, Grublak said.

Even with national cases of the flu being higher than usual, the heath center said they have seen more cases of stomach viruses than the flu this semester.

The CDC reports on flu activity each year, and has said the virus usually peaks around January or February. They have also said the height of flu season has been reached in much of the country.

If students think they have contracted the flu, Grublak said they should contact the health center within 24 hours of their first symptoms, and start Tamiflu.

“(Students) wait because they think they will get better,” Grublak said.

Tamiflu, however, is only effective if administered early on, so Grublak said it is important that if students think they have the flu they should see a health professional.

Health centers around the country have been reporting shortages of both flu vaccines and Tamiflu, which is used to lessen symptoms of the flu, but Grublak said this is not the case at CSU-Pueblo, though it has been in the past.

Grublak said the health center abides by the regulations put forth by the CDC. It is advised that if students should contract the flu virus, they should try to stay away from others for a few days.

The center is also offering flu vaccinations for students for $15. The CDC advises people to get flu shots in early September before any major breakouts but have said even getting a flu shot now would reduce the symptoms if the virus is contracted.

Student Health Services is located next to the Occhiato University Center or can be reached at (719) 549-2830.