(Graphic/ Dior Brown)
Flu season peaks in Feburary, but it can last until May, according to the CDC, so there’s still time to get a flu shot.
Since the beginning of flu season in October 2019 and Feb. 1, 2020, there have been as many as 31 million cases of the flu and between 12,000-30,000 flu deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The death toll range is calculated through the CDC’s weekly influenza surveillance data and the range is given to show how impactful the virus is, including an estimate of unreported data.
“We had a lot more flu before Christmas compared to now; however, it is still out there,” said Jackie Chirico, the nurse practitioner at Troy’s Student Health Center. “There are still daily cases, and people need to stay at home once they start feeling sick.
“They should rest and stay away from others. They should avoid heavily populated areas if they must not be there.”
This flu season comes at the same time as the current coronavirus scare, the death toll of which just passed 1,100.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), there are more than 50% positive flu tests in people under 25 in the state. Many students on campus have experienced the flu or flu-like illnesses since the start of the semester.
“Four of my roommates had the flu at the beginning of the semester,” said Boluwarin Dairo, a junior computer science major from Lagos, Nigeria. “Students need to be intentional about staying healthy.”
“People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (tiredness), and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults,” the CDC reports
“If there’s persistent fever or flu symptoms that last over 24 to 48 hours, they (students) should head down to the clinic,” Chirico said.
Some complications with the flu, such as viral or bacterial pneumonia, can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Everyone should practice good hand hygiene; washing hands properly can offer a great defense against the flu. People should cover their mouths or noses when they sneeze or cough, tissue should be used in this case and then discarded after; otherwise, one should sneeze into their elbow to keep germs from spreading, Chirico said.
Eating habits also matter when it comes to protecting oneself from disease. Diets with fruits, vegetables and lean proteins will help boost the immune system, according to Chirico.