Cooler temperatures initiates flu season

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    By Natalie Kilgore

    Cold weather brings the ski season, the Christmas season, and the flu season.

    Instead of jumping into ski boots, some students are going to be forced to jump into bed to fight off the flu.

    Since flu season is approaching, students need to take the necessary precautions to prevent a potential bed-ridden week, said Doctor Gus Hoffman of the Student Health Center.

    The flu, a viral infection that causes congestion, cough, aching muscles and sometimes a fever, usually hits between December and February, he said.

    Once infected with the flu, students should take medication, drink lots of fluids and get bed rest, Hoffman said.

    Tylenol and ibuprofen are two good medications to take to fight off the sick feelings the flu brings, he said.

    Since the flu lasts for three to seven days, it is imperative students are careful not to give it to their roommates, otherwise the flu will be passed around to everyone in the apartment.

    Students should always wash their hands and not eat or drink after a roommate or friend in order to prevent the flu, Hoffman said.

    “You’re just asking for trouble if you do,” he said.

    The Intermountain Healthcare web-site also recommends people to wash their hands frequently.

    In addition, the web-site advises people to stay away from large crowds with potentially sick people and to wash dishes in hot water in order to kill any lingering germs.

    Any health tips students can heed are good news for some students who said the flu knocks them out.

    “I just feel miserable when I have the flu,” said Leslie Smith, 20, a junior from Delta, Utah, majoring in statistics.

    “Even though I probably should, I don’t drink lots of fluids,” she said. “I simply get lots of rest.”

    Smith said a flu shot would probably be helpful.

    People over 50 and children between six months and two years, as well as those with chronic heart or lung problems should get flu shots, Hoffman said.

    A flu shot helps the body to build up an immunity to the virus because it is the actual virus split into tiny pieces and are 80 to 85 percent effective for preventing the flu, he said.

    Students interested in getting a flu shot will be able to at the Health Center until the 30th of November, Hoffman said.

    The cost is seven dollars, which is below the average community cost and the side effects are minimal, he said.

    The flu shot is the answer for students who have had the flu in the past, Hoffman said.

    “I probably should get a flu shot, but I just don’t want to pay for it,” said Allyson Flake, 18, a freshman from Cambridge, England, majoring in travel and tourism.

    Flake said she would rather sleep off any illness she may get.

    “I just get lots of sleep and take Nyquil,” she said.

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