Students and staff can breath a little easier this flu season knowing the influenza virus is predicted to be much less severe and much more contained than that of last year.
“This year is supposed to be improved from last year,” said Britt McRae, GC’s director of student health services. “In 2019, we have only had one case of the flu thus far.”
This is a drastic improvement from last year, when health services diagnosed 30 to 35 cases of the flu every day.
According to the CDC, 3.1 percent of Americans have seen their healthcare provider in regards to flu-like symptoms this year. While it is slightly above the national baseline of 2.2 percent, it is a significant decrease from last year when 7.5 percent of Americans were seeking help for issues related to the flu.
Some students recall last winter’s flu season as one of the worst they have experienced. Although he had been vaccinated, sophomore Brandon Frey, a criminal justice major, came down with the flu just three days after his roommates during the flu outbreak last year.
“I get my flu shot every single year, and this was the first time I got the flu since I was little,” Frey said. “I felt like I had been hit by a bus.”
McRae also explained that if a student’s roommate comes down with the flu, encourage them to go home so that it doesn’t spread. If the student is unable to go home, be sure to follow a routine of strict handwashing and disinfecting while limiting contact with the sick roommate.
Sophomore Stuart Jeans, a management information systems major and Frey’s only roommate to escape the flu last year, managed to live with and care for his three sick roommates for a week.
“I got them food, helped clean up the room and Clorox wiped everything,” Jeans said. “You name it, I did it.”
However, Jeans did not escape the flu simply due to luck. He took preventative measures to keep himself from getting sick.
He washed his hands and limited contact with his roommates by quarantining them in one half of the suite and spending the rest of his time in the other, disinfected room.
While it is still possible to come down with the flu after being vaccinated, students should not let this stop them from getting their flu shot this season.
“Getting your flu vaccine every year is the best way to contain the flu,” McRae said.
The CDC explains that when someone who has been vaccinated gets sick, their symptoms are likely to be much more bearable than those of a person who has not gotten the shot.
Students do not need to wait until they go home to get their flu shot.
“The vaccine is offered through Student Health,” McRae said. “The student may walk in at any time and receive the vaccine.”