Flu season begins, serious cases reported

Anne Buie

The first case of the flu this year was reported Oct. 19, but since then, only a few cases have been reported, said Kendal McDevitt, the wellness promotion coordinator for Health Services.

However, December is when the flu “hits hardest,” she said.

So far, there have been a combined three deaths from the flu this season in North and South Carolina, according to a report from WBTV.
RN Nursing Supervisor Joyce Moretz Young said death can happen when there are other conditions or heart problems.

With prior conditions and influenza, “your body can’t fight it off as well,” Young said.

People are contagious a day before they get symptoms and up to seven days after their symptoms have developed.

“It’s spread by microscopic droplets that come with talking, coughing and sneezing,” Young said. “It is less likely, but you can pick it up from a surface that has the droplets on it.”

There are many myths about the flu vaccine, such as the vaccine giving the recipient the flu, McDevitt said.

However, the vaccine is “very safe.”

“It is biologically impossible to get the flu from the vaccine, however this is not the case in the nasal mist,” McDevitt said. “The nasal mist is for those who don’t like shots and there are some active cells in it. It is not possible to get the flu from the shot.”

Even though the flu is serious, students do not necessarily need to go to Health Services if they have the flu, since it is a viral infection and cannot be treated with antibiotics, McDevitt said.

“It’s different for each person,” McDevitt said. “Some people feel better if they’ve come in and have a doctor look at them. If you feel comfortable managing your own symptoms, go ahead and don’t come in.”

Students should seek emergency treatment if they have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, seizures or flu-like symptoms that improve and then return worse, McDevitt said.

Students can get free flu vaccinations Monday through Friday in Health Services.

“Even if you are a healthy person, you can get the flu and you can spread it,” McDevitt said.

Story: ANDREW CLAUSEN, Senior Sports Reporter