Health Services warns students of flu season

As flu season blows onto campus, Health Services is advising students to take extra precautions to avoid catching the virus.

“We’re trying to be more proactive,” Janice Vermeychuk, associate director of Health Services, said. “We don’t want to wait until we have a lot of cases on our hands.”

As a result of this desire to be more proactive, Health Services released a campus-wide e-mail last week reporting the confirmation of a flu case on campus and cautioning students about the risks of catching and spreading the flu.

“We have had two confirmed cases at this point,” Vermeychuk said Monday afternoon.

“These are diagnosed through a lab test we perform here at Health Services. It’s not based on symptoms. It’s typical that we see a lot of flu cases on campus each year, but the first case came early this year, so we took it upon ourselves to notify students to be careful.”

Also reported in the e-mail advisory was an increase in the number of gastrointestinal virus diagnoses on campus.

Students were advised to wash their hands regularly, avoid hand contact with their eyes and mouths and avoid attending class if sick.

“The ideal situation would be for the patient to go home and rest. But we recognize that that isn’t always possible and that students might not be in good enough condition to drive themselves home,” Vermeychuk said.

In the waiting room at the Health Services office in Eickhoff Hall, a sign instructs students seeking treatment for a cough to wear a surgical mask while they wait, so as not to spread their cold or flu to other students.

Vermeychuk said in the future, the staff at Health Services plans to release similar health advisories during outbreaks of other illnesses.

Symptoms of the flu include cough, muscle aches and high fever.

Symptoms of the gastrointestinal virus include vomiting, diarrhea and some stomach cramping.