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Get a Degree, Not the Flu (1146 hits)

Take Flu Preventative Measures

Going off to college can be some of the most exciting years in your life, but it also puts you in situations that may make you susceptible to the flu. For instance, meeting new people and living in close quarters with others in dorms can put you at risk. Every year, about 36,000 people die from the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and treated for flu complications. Instead of worrying about getting sick, take these steps to protect yourself from the flu. Get a flu vaccination and practice sanitary habits.

Getting a flu vaccination is the first measure you should take in flu prevention. There are two types of flu vaccinations; the ďflu shot,Ē as well as the nasal spray vaccine. Vaccination should begin as soon as the vaccine becomes available on campus, as it takes about two weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later. Thatís why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises students and others to seek vaccination in December, January, and later if they havenít yet gotten vaccinated. Because different influenza viruses circulate each year, new flu vaccines are made to fight these viruses, which is why it is necessary to get a flu vaccine every year.

As you develop new routines and adjust to your new lifestyle in college, teach yourself healthy habits such as hand washing, getting enough sleep, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth to prevent the spread of germs. Influenza viruses are usually spread from person to person in respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes, so itís a good idea to start good habits now.

Healthy people can get the flu too. Serious problems can develop from the flu at any age; even healthy young adults can suffer from complications. Some complications that may occur due to the flu are pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear infections. All of these problems could hold any college student back from their studies, a social life, or other extra-curricular activities.

So how do you know you have the flu? There are multiple signs, such as headache, fever, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, or muscle aches. Many of these symptoms can at first seem the same as the common cold, but usually grow more severe. It is very important to distinguish the difference between these two. If you are unsure of your symptoms, make an appointment with you university health clinic to ensure proper treatment for your condition.

Many times, people infected with the flu can start spreading the virus one to four days before they have any flu-like symptoms. Some bacteria and viruses can live from 20 minutes to two hours or more on surfaces like doorknobs, desks, and tables. So if you have the flu, CDC recommends that you stay home from class or work to avoid contact with others, to keep from infecting them with the flu. Protect yourself and others from the flu. Vaccinate today.

For more information, call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO or visit www.cdc.gov/flu.
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Thursday, October 30th 2008 at 3:10PM
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