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Tips to avoid the flu

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Junior Rachel Sullivan wears a face mask to avoid catching the flu.

Junior Rachel Sullivan wears a face mask to avoid catching the flu.

Shelby Guidry

Shelby Guidry

Junior Rachel Sullivan wears a face mask to avoid catching the flu.

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This year’s flu mortality rates have prompted the Center for Disease control to declare this season’s flu outbreak an epidemic and they anticipate the flu outbreak is likely to continue.

The University of South Alabama Student Health Center urged students to be proactive in avoiding the spread of this season’s flu virus. They provided some tips to help students stay well and avoid spreading the flu.

“The best way to prevent the flu is to be immune to the viruses,” Director of Operations of Student Health Beverly Kellen said. “Thus far this season, the USA Student Health Center has administered over 700 influenza vaccinations to students, and we still have a very limited supply available.”

Though the vaccine can vary in how it works, it is the first and best way to prevent seasonal flu, according to the SHC website. The SHC has the flu vaccine available to currently enrolled students for $20. An appointment is not necessary for the vaccine. The cost of the flu shot is covered for all students who have coverage with the UnitedHealthcare plan, according to SHC. The vaccine can still be effective at this point in the flu season, according to the CDC.

SCH also says to use common sense to prevent exposure.

“Avoiding exposure to the flu is helpful, but is very difficult,” Kellen said. “Ways to avoid contracting the disease include: wash your hands or use hand gels containing at least 60 percent alcohol; do not touch your face, eyes or mouth unless your hands are clean.”

The SHC advises students to avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, limit contact with other people and stay home, except to receive medical care. Local clinics are offering around-the-clock phone hours for patients to call in their symptoms instead of coming into the office and possibly exposing themselves or others to the flu.

Lastly, SHC advises taking care of yourself if you contract the flu.

“Self-isolate and only go near others or in public if you must for medical reasons. Then, you should use cough etiquette and wear a surgical mask,” Kellen said. “If you live in a residence hall on campus, we ask that you consider going to your permanent home, if possible, until you have recovered. You may be able to resume activities when you have not had a fever for at least 24 hours without taking medications known to lower your temperature.”

Shelby Hall WPS Starbucks supervisor Cecelia Sanders says she had the flu and recovered. She following the SHC’s guidelines to help prevent the spread of the flu. “I kept a bottle of sanitizer on the counter for our guests to feel free to use anytime and I have told all employees if they have any notice that they have a fever, do not come to work because this is a red flag of spreading any virus to others,” Sanders stated.

Be sure to rest for as long as you feel sick to avoid spreading germs or worsening your symptoms. If you expect to miss a significant amount of class be diligent in contacting your professors.

“Your USA Student Health Center is available should you become ill and suspect that you might have the flu,” Kellen said.

Call the SHC at (251)-460-715 with any questions.

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The University of South Alabama's student news site
Tips to avoid the flu